Mitchell Laithes Farm

Osset, West Yorkshire


Yorkshire Water Services


Desk-based assessment


In 2006–07, NAA carried out an archaeological appraisal, evaluation trenching and an excavation ahead of expansion of the Mitchell Laithes Wastewater Treatment Works at Osset in West Yorkshire. The site appraisal identified cropmarks of a small ring ditch and a linear feature, which were recorded through geophysical survey along with a field system likely to be Iron Age or Roman in date.  

The excavation recorded features dating from the early prehistoric to post-medieval periods. The earliest evidence consisted of groups of pits and postholes suggesting several short episodes of occupation associated with use of Grimston Ware pottery. This activity was radiocarbon dated to the second quarter of the 4th millennium BC. Other pits contained sherds of possible Peterborough Ware pottery and an assemblage of later Neolithic Grooved Ware pottery.

The ring ditch encircled an Early Bronze Age round barrow, which had covered three small pits containing cremated human remains. One burial was accompanied by a small pottery accessory vessel and another by the burnt remains of a bone bead or toggle. A satellite burial consisting of cremated remains in an inverted Collared Urn was found nearby. The burials all produced radiocarbon dates within the range 1920–1680 cal BC.

Iron Age activity was represented by pits containing pottery and part of a circle of postholes probably from a roundhouse. In the Romano-British period, the area was subdivided into fields by small ditches. The geophysical survey showed that one boundary had D-shaped and rectangular enclosures appended to it. Several dispersed features contained Roman finds, and one pit produced a larger assemblage of Roman material of later 4th century or early 5th century date. Quantities of metalworking debris in features from across the area indicated that iron-smithing had taken place within or close to the site during the Roman period.

No subsequent activity took place until the medieval period, during which time two small quarry pits were excavated. Ridge-and-furrow cultivation across the area was considered to be of early post-medieval date.

The full results of the excavation have been published as a monograph:

Speed, G. (2015) Excavations at Mitchell Laithes Farm, Osset, West Yorkshire. Northern Archaeological Associates Monograph Series 1

To find out how to get a copy of this monograph click here.

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