In 2001, excavations were carried out following the known presence of crop marks on this raised land to the west of the village along with the impending opencast mining planned for the area. The Moss Carr coal excavation would be an extension to adjacent mining operations in the area. The crop marks had been identified from earlier aerial photographs.
Archaeological works commenced in May 2001 sponsored by the mining company JH Banks who also funded continuing excavations after clearing the surface top soil. Banks’ also supported the production and publication of the report by archaeologists Ian Roberts and Jane Richardson. (This can be obtained from West Yorkshire Archaeological Services at www.arch.wyjs.org.uk )
Excavations revealed habitation of the site from c 400BC to 80AD – not always continuously. In a time context this is the equivalent of 1530 AD to the present time, or, from the times of the Waterton Lordship to the present day. From the three excavation areas, evidence of eight structures were determined which included six conventional roundhouse settlement enclosures, the dates being confirmed by radiocarbon dating techniques.
To the interested layman like myself, the report poses further questions, not least of which would be how many other enclosures could have existed in the area, especially nearer to the river, and what could have been the population at this time? how did they feed themselves?, how much of the area would have still been wooded?, who was the boss? And so on….