Staple Howe West Hesterton

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Site Details:

"This small farmstead was established on top of the small chalk hills on the northern edge of the Yorkshire Wolds. The chosen site was a good defensive position with a level oval shaped platform about 54.7m long and 12.2m wide. A timber stockade encircled the site which at first contained a single oval hut 9.1m long and 6.1m accross; probably contructed of chalk rubble walls and a thatched gabled roof. Inside the dwelling were the remains of a hearth and clay oven. At a later date, two other huts were constructed, and also one small square structure placed on the highest point of the enclosure, that may have been used as a granary. The round huts were constructed of timber post walls each having a central load bearing support for their conical thatched roofs. Both dwellings appear to have south east facing porches, and the one at the western end of the enclosure had a diameter of 9.1m. On excavation, large amounts of burnt grain, animal bones, (both wild and domesticated), bone gorges for fishing, pottery, iron and bronze objects were found on the farm site." Understanding the Countryside - Ron Scholes.

Other Notes:

SE 898 749. Iron Age site. Staple Howe. Iron Age `A' settlement site found in 1950 by M Stones of Heslerton School. Explored 1950-51. Excavations began in June 1951. (1)

The site occupies the summit of a rounded natural hillock on Forestry Commission property. (2)

An Early Iron Age oval palisaded settlement situated on a natural chalk knoll at Staple Howe was excavated by T C M Brewster between 1951-56 and 1958 (see plan) who revealed that the palisade had been re-aligned once and modified at least twice. Within the enclosure the oval hut was considered to belong to the earliest phase, but in the later phase this was abandoned and replaced by two round huts and a centrally placed four-post structure interpreted as a watch tower. (8) or possibly a shrine (4).

The large quantity of Iron Age pottery recovered from the site included mainly Hallstatt influenced wares and early La Tene types (5). Other finds were bronze objects, including three Hallstatt 'C' razors, tweezers, tanged chisels and socketed axe fragment; iron loop and pin; jet armlets and rings; bone and antler working pieces;  pottery loomweights and spindle-whorls; stone and flint artefacts. Fragments of human remains representing at least two individuals were also discovered. Carbon 14 determination on carbonised grain from the quarried hollow gave a date of 2,400 +/-150 years. All the finds, photographs and records are in the British Museum. (3)  Harding (4) considered that the plan of the internal huts at Staple Howe were more comparable with the mid-late Bronze Age buildings of Shearplace Hill, Dorset (see SY 69 NW/23) or Itford Hill, West Sussex (see TQ 40 NW/43) and that some of the pottery was also suggestive of Bronze Age antecedents, including fragments reminiscent of bucket-urn forms.

These factors together with the structural complexities of the  palisaded enclosure argued a prolonged occupation of the site; the 6th century Hallstatt bronzes and radio-carbon dating, may not, therefore, be representative of the earliest occupation on the site. (3-8)

SE 898 748. Staple Howe. Scheduled (Listed under `Burial Mounds, Megalithic Monuments and Ritual and Ceremonial Sites'). (9)

SE 8985 7496. Settlement. (NR) (Site of) (NAT). (10)

A sherd of Iron Age imported Greek pottery was noted by Brewster while sifting through the Staple Howe pottery after the publication of the excavation report (Authy 3). (11)

SE 898 749. Staple Howe: a palisaded hilltop enclosure in Knapton Plantation. Scheduled RSM Number 20543. (12)

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