EYO6557 - Wetherby Road Roundabout WB and EXC




Location Wetherby Road Roundabout
Grid reference Centred SE 5591 5145 (204m by 596m)
Map sheet SE55SE
Unitary Authority City of York, North Yorkshire



York Archaeological Trust





Between the 15th May 2018 and the 31st October 2018 York Archaeological Trust conducted a watching brief and excavation at the A1237/B1224 Roundabout on behalf of City of York Council. The investigation of this site has revealed strong evidence for the presence of a Late Iron Age/Romano British agricultural settlement in the area around Acomb and Knapton, approximately 4.5km west of York. The discoveries include a group of large pit-like features which have been interpreted as watering holes for livestock, as well as a number of possible post-holes, pits and ditches. A shallow ring ditch suggests some kind of enclosure or possible building. A suite of environmental samples recovered from the large features support the interpretation of them as watering holes for livestock. The site produced regionally and nationally important evidence for the Late Iron Age/Romano British agricultural landscape in a hitherto uninvestigated part of York. The analysis phase of investigation at Wetherby Road has resulted in the refinement of the original assessment phasing and interpretation. Recovery of a small lithic assemblage has revealed that the area was being exploited, at least in a limited way, as early as the Neolithic. The earliest feature was defined as such by its stratigraphic relationship with a pit which has been radiocarbon dated to the Bronze Age, and from which a rubber stone for a saddle quern was recovered. Activity at the site had intensified by the late Iron Age, at which time a pastoral landscape had become established with open ground or grassland subdivided with ditched enclosures and hedgerows. It has been possible to detail local conditions from a suite of environmental evidence captured in a series of large waterlogged pits, interpreted as watering holes for livestock. The continued exploitation of a spring accessed by these features is evident from maintenance of the watering holes during the transition to the Romano-British period. However, by the mid-Roman period the watering holes had silted up and fallen out of use. Following the Romano-British period there is no evidence to suggest that the site had been utilised in a particularly intensive manner. Several small and abraded medieval pottery sherds had found their way into the top of earlier features through post depositional processes, but no features could definitively be assigned to that period. It is likely that the site has been subjected to agricultural activity from this time until the present day, as evidenced by the line of a ditch that had silted up during the 19th century and was clearly identifiable as a field boundary on early Ordnance Survey mapping (OS 1850). This was one of the most important investigations of a prehistoric site to take place recently in the York area and that the assemblage and site archive has high research potential. A range of striking similarities are apparent with how Late Iron Age/ Romano-British agricultural activities at Heslington East and Wetherby Roundabout exploited the available landscape resources during the Late Iron Age/ Romano-British transitional period. A mixed farming economy is evident, with a significant weighting towards pastoral activity focussed on watering and control of livestock hinging on the presence of reliable spring water. Stabilising the sides of watering holes with wattle linings, which was at times augmented with cobbled hard standing, implemented long term access for livestock.

Sources/Archives (2)

  • --- Unpublished document: YAT. 2020. Wetherby Road Roundabout WB and EXC Assessment.
  • --- Unpublished document: York Archaeology. 2023. Wetherby Road Roundabout WB and EXC Analysis.

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

  • Late Iron Age-Romano-British settlement (Monument)

Record last edited

Aug 23 2023 3:54PM


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