21 April 2024 The Future is the Product of the Past

Archaeologists have found an intriguing Iron Age “shrine” in the Yorkshire Wolds

Archaeologists have discovered an interesting ancient Iron Age “shrine” in the Yorkshire Wolds, which was marked out by meticulously placed animal skulls and bones.

A team led by Dr. Peter Halkon and James Lyall excavated a fortified settlement with a substantially circular structure in the middle a few hundred yards from the “shrine” over the last four years.

Both the shrine and the older Bronze Age “ring fort” initially appeared in aerial images plotted by Cathy Stoertz over 20 years ago as crop marks on the top of a hill in the Wolds.

The shrine consisted of a square enclosure surrounded by a deep ditch, with a central area hidden from view by a palisade. In the center were the remains of a child, however, the bones are in such poor condition, and have been damaged by plowing. It is not known in what period the child was buried there.

The animal remains left on the ground after the palisade was taken out were quite remarkable.

Drone picture of the shrine by Tony Hunt
Drone picture of the shrine by Tony Hunt

Up to 40 cow skulls, some arranged in pairs, along with cow bones and deer antlers, were placed around the square enclosure, sometime after it was taken down.

Dr. Halkon said the butchered remains of cattle, as well as sheep and pork, were found at the nearby fort which could once have been home for a powerful man and his extensive family.

Dr Peter Halkon, Senior Lecturer in Archaeology at the University of Hull, at the "shrine" site - those in the background are working on an entranceway to the fort
Dr. Peter Halkon, Senior Lecturer in Archaeology at the University of Hull, at the “shrine” site – those in the background are working on an entranceway to the fort

However, only cow skulls and bones, as well as deer antlers, a wild, hunted animal, were placed in the shrine on purpose. Archaeologists discovered forelegs, three cow skulls, another skull, and a deer antler in one corner. Skulls were arranged in pairs in other locations.

Dr. Halkon said the bones were too carefully deposited to be “just rubbish disposal”.

He said: “At some point, they demolished the monument, pulled out the palisade and reopened the slot where the palisade had been and inserted all the animal bones.

Dr. Halkon said human heads were venerated and it is possible cattle heads had some kind of symbolism. He said: “Cattle were very important to them, and they probably measured wealth in the numbers of cattle.”

The excavation was sponsored by the Yorkshire Archaeological and Historical Society.

Yorkshire Post

Related Articles

1700-year-old weaving workshop discovered in southeast Turkey

4 December 2021

4 December 2021

Excavations carried out in the ancient city of Perre in the southeastern province of Adıyaman have unearthed a 1,700-year-old weaving...

Ancient tomb chamber discovered in north China

3 January 2022

3 January 2022

Archaeologists have unearthed a tomb with a stone outer coffin dating back to the Northern Wei Dynasty (386-534) in north...

Climate and Archaic humans caused the extinction of giant camels that lived in Mongolia 27,000 years ago, a study says

3 April 2022

3 April 2022

Camelus knoblochi, a species of giant two-humped camel, survived in Mongolia alongside modern humans—and perhaps Neanderthals and Denisovans—until about 27,000...

New discoveries at the Sanxingdui Ruins demonstrate ancient China’s creative ability

9 September 2021

9 September 2021

Chinese archaeologists revealed fresh important finds at the Sanxingdui Ruins site in southwest China’s Sichuan Province on Thursday, from pits...

The impressive Statue of young Hercules unearthed in Philippi, Northern Greece

24 September 2022

24 September 2022

A larger-than-life youthful Hercules statue dating to the 2nd century A.D. have been found in the ancient city of Philippi...

A Thousand-Year-Old Iron Age-old grave in Finland Is Ascribed to a Prominent Non-Binary Person

10 August 2021

10 August 2021

Archaeologists found a weapon grave in Finland’s Suontaka Vesitorninmäki in 1968. The remains discovered in the burial have been at...

Khufu Boat moved to its New Museum by Smart Vehicle

8 August 2021

8 August 2021

A 4,600-year-old intact wooden boat bearing the name of an Egyptian pharaoh, Khufu, was transported to a new museum about...

10,000-year-old rock art discovered in the Indian village of Medikonda

3 July 2021

3 July 2021

Rock art containing tiger, human and animal figures was found at the Jogulamba Gadwal site in Telangana, India. The New...

Tomb of an Urartian buried with his dog, cattle, sheep, and 4 horses unearthed

6 September 2021

6 September 2021

In ancient times, the dead were buried with their living and non-living things. The offerings placed as dead gifts varied...

Red lipstick dating back 3,600 years was discovered in Iran -the oldest ever found-

14 February 2024

14 February 2024

Archaeologists have discovered a small chlorite vial containing a deep red cosmetic preparation believed to be an ancient type of...

Romanian Police Find the Stolen Viking Helmet

21 February 2021

21 February 2021

Romanian police specializing in heritage crimes recovered a medieval helmet of “Viking origin” on February 7, which had disappeared a...

A 500-year-old mural linked to an Aztec god was found under layers of paint in Mexican Church

15 October 2022

15 October 2022

A mural of an Aztec rabbit God of alcohol is not something anyone expects to see inside a church, but...

Portugal’s Enigmatic Roman Building “Tower of Centum Cellas”

4 February 2024

4 February 2024

The Tower of Centum Cellas (also known as the “Tower of St. Cornelius”), located in the Mount of Santo Antão...

800-year-old Jin dynasty palace complex found in Beijing Olympic Village

9 February 2022

9 February 2022

While building the athletes’ Olympic Village for this year’s Winter Games in Beijing, China found the remains of an ancient...

7.5 Million Annual Elephant Skulls Fossil Were Found in Turkey “Choerolophodon Pentelic”

17 March 2021

17 March 2021

A complete skull fossil from 7.5 million years ago was discovered on the bank of the Yamula Dam in the...