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Interpreting the changing Prehistoric landscape of the Western Yorkshire Wolds

Whiteley, Clare E.


Clare E. Whiteley


Peter Halkon


In 2015, a BA Dissertation in Archaeology demonstrated that by combining the data provided by remote sensing, with the results of excavations, it was possible to unravel data sets of original aerial photographic and geophysical plots to construct a chronology of landscape development at Nunburnholme Wold.
The core purpose of this thesis is to place Nunburnholme Wold into a wider geographical context; hence a larger area on the Western escarpment of the central Yorkshire Wolds has been examined in order to reconstruct the agricultural, societal and economic development, through analysis of the data provided by the cropmark coverage and other forms of remote sensing following the example provided by Halkon (2008).
In order to chronologically construct landscape development through later prehistory, combined data sets were key. These included the plotting of features from the Stoertz (1997) mapping programme “Ancient Landscapes of the Yorkshire Wolds” (RCHM (E) 1997), and the use of satellite imagery from the computer software programme, Google Earth (© 2014 Google © 2014 Infoterra Ltd & Bluesky). Raster data was inputted into ArcGIS 10.3 and identified against geographical constraints such as geology, soils and watercourses in order to assess the influence on settlement patterns.
The results have demonstrated a landscape which is rich in archaeological sites and was active during the Neolithic, Bronze and Iron Age. Settlement activity is noted to be concentrated across the drier and better drained soils of the uplands as opposed to the wetter, poor draining, and less workable alluvial valley floor soils. These results have proved consistent with Halkon’s (2008) thesis of the Foulness Valley c. 800 BC to c. AD 400. This study proposes that human activity in the study area had its origins in a focus as a ceremonial landscape, subsequently developing into an agricultural environment which permitted the fluid movement of people and stock across the area.


Whiteley, C. E. (2020). Interpreting the changing Prehistoric landscape of the Western Yorkshire Wolds. (Thesis). University of Hull. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Jan 17, 2022
Publicly Available Date Feb 24, 2023
Keywords History; Archaeology
Public URL
Additional Information Department of History, The University of Hull
Award Date Jan 1, 2020


Thesis (13.5 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 2020 Whiteley, Clare E. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

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