Introduction
Geology
THE ARCHAEOLOGY OF THE YORKSHIRE WOLDS

By Stephen Harrison, BA, MPil Phd, Consultant Archaeologist
Pathaeolithic
Mesolithic
Neolithic
Bronze Age
Iron Age
Romano-British
Anglo-Saxon
Viking
Medieval
Early Modern
Modern

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EARLY MODERN (c. 1600 - 1800)

The trends identified in the medieval period can be seen to continue on to the nineteenth century and later. By 1650, the Wolds was a hedgeless and treeless countryside, given over, in large measure, to sheep.

Bushes and trees - with the exception of whins or furze - remained a rarity on the High Wolds until well into the eighteenth century. Gorse was common, but its growth was controlled as it was in demand for fuel. Great tracts of wold land were devoted to sheep pasture and rabbit warren in both open and enclosed townships. In the first half of the eighteenth century it is probable that at least one half, or perhaps as much as two-thirds, of the chalk country was under grass.

The central and eastern Wolds were the best arable lands, with barley, followed by wheat, as the main crops. It is clear that, as now, barley was dominant on loamy and lighter soils, and wheat dominant on the boulder clay soils. In terms of livestock, sheep predominated.

Pathaeolithic c.250,000 - 8,300 BC
Mesolithic c.8,300 - 4,000 BC
Neolithic c.4,000 - 2,000 BC
Bronze Agec.2,000 - 800 BC
Iron Agec.800 BC - AD 71
Romano-British c.AD 71 - 410
Anglo-Saxon and Vikingc.AD 410 - 1066
Medieval c.AD 1066 - 1540
Early Modernc.1600 -1800
Modern c.1800 to the present day

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