Ancient building discovered in Dales

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a TEAM of Yorkshire-based archaeologists has discovered the first seventh century building to be positively identified in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Members of the Ingleborough Archaeology Group spent weeks investigating a remote site on the side of one of the famous Three Peaks to the west of Selside in Upper Ribblesdale.

And their work has resulted in the stunning find – said to be one of the first of its kind in the north of England.

Excavation supervisor David Johnson said: “We uncovered a small, rectangular, partly stone-built building with two rooms and in it we found 16 pieces of charcoal impressed into the compacted soil floor.

“Two of these were sent for radiocarbon dating and returned identical dates – between 660 and 780, which puts the end of the site’s use firmly within the Anglo-Saxon period. That makes this building the only firmly-dated, post-Roman archaeological site in Ribblesdale – which is of more than local significance.”

He added: “We also discovered small pieces of chert, a dark, rock-like flint that was knapped to make small tools.

“These are likely to date from the early Neolithic period, possibly 6,000 years ago.

“It was probably pure chance that the pieces found their way into the building – they may have been trapped in turfs which were used for sealing the walls or roof of the building.”

Many settlement sites have been identified between Ribblehead and Horton in Ribblesdale, including a well-known site near Ribblehead Quarry that was excavated in the 1970s.

Robert White, the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s senior historic environment officer, said: “This is an exciting discovery and one which is a credit to the group for the professional way they conducted the excavation.”