Further significant discoveries have been made during recent archaeological excavations in advance of the construction of the Caythorpe gas storage facility.
Three human burials, believed to be of Iron Age or Roman date, were discovered during an archaeological excavation at the site, at Caythorpe, near Bridlington. The recent investigations have been concentrated on areas which will be affected by the extension to the existing Caythorpe facility, which is managed by Centrica.
The latest finds follow on from discoveries made at the site in late 2009, when remains of prehistoric, Roman and Anglo-Saxon date were discovered in an earlier phase of archaeological works.
One of the burials was found with an iron blade, likely to have been a knife, in a grave that was one of two that intersected each other. In the same area, a number of Iron Age pits were recorded, likely to have been dug to enable the collection of water from what may have been a natural spring.
The pits lay close to where the foundations of several circular houses, some of which were up to 15m in diameter, were excavated in the earlier archaeological work. A large saddle quern, or grinding stone, was found in the pits, which would have been used to process grain for flour. Well-preserved wood fragments were also found, showing the marks of the tools that were used to cut and shape them.
Pottery and bone found in the pits will enable experts to date the objects found in the excavation, and provide evidence of the animals that would have been present in the nearby settlement.
The excavation work is being undertaken by Humber Field Archaeology, a professional archaeological consultancy which is based within Hull City Council. They provide expert integrated archaeology services, supporting proposed developments, grant-funded research and community-based projects, throughout the Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire areas.
Ken Steedman, project manager at Humber Field Archaeology, said: “Our investigations at Caythorpe are continuing to bear fruit, with important information being collected regarding the past inhabitants of the Wolds and how they lived their lives.
“It is a stimulating and rewarding project to be involved in. The finds that have been made so far provide plenty of archaeological evidence towards the history of the site and, with the work set for completion at the end of November, we are confident we will find further important remains to investigate.”
The majority of the remains that have been found to date were either previously unknown or had only been seen on aerial photographs. The date of the remains spans several thousands of years, so further investigation and analysis work is needed before a detailed history of the site can be compiled.
The Caythorpe gas storage project involves the conversion of an onshore field into a storage facility, with a possible capacity of 7.5 billion cubic feet of gas storage.
As a result, Caythorpe will have significant withdrawal and injection capacity, complementing the nearby Rough facility offshore from Easington, which his currently the UK”s biggest storage facility.