Electric workers’ find reveals evidence of Iron Age hunting camp in Dales

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Routine work to remove an electricity pole in the Yorkshire Dales has unearthed dozens of prehistoric flints dating back to Britain’s Iron Age past.

The primitive tools had lain hidden for thousands of years until they were revealed during a project to remove electricity poles in Malham, in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) is working with Electricity North West, the company that manages and owns the region’s power network, to reduce the visual impact of overhead power lines and electricity poles on the beautiful landscape of the National Trust’s Malham Moor Estate by laying the cables underground.

It was during the first phase of the £300,000 project that the objects were found and work was temporarily put on hold while archaeology students from Bradford University carried out an investigation under the supervision of Dr Randolph Donahue.

Mark Newman, the National Trust’s consultant archaeologist, said: “The excavations have provided wonderful evidence of how the Yorkshire Dales have been attracting visitors for thousands of years. “We knew that Malham Tarn was an ideal summer hunting ground in the Mesolithic period particularly, because of the number of wildfowl on the water and the range of good-quality grazing that attracted game around the tarn.

“It was a summer hunting camp – a site that was visited again and again over the course of thousands of years. The hunters lived very sustainably and used materials extremely sparingly so the majority of the items Dr Donahue’s team found were tiny parts of small flint tools. There will be another phase of work when we go along and see what else is uncovered.

“Generally speaking, we think these people lived in light, temporary structures so we might see the remains of hearths or fireplaces and holes for tent poles.”

The work will remove 23 electricity poles and replace overhead powerlines with 2.2km of underground cable.