The History of Queensgate Allotments part 1

Richard Myerscough, who is heading up an archaeological investigation at the Queensgate Allotments, gave our Charles Brear memorial lecture. He has found geological evidence stretching back some 150,000 years and artefacts from humans stretching back some 10,000 years.

Richard began with a brief resume of the geological processes in this area involving periods of global warming and ice ages. These led to the formation of the land at the Queengate allotments as a loamy, clayey flood plain with naturally high groundwater referred to as “stagnogley”.

Richard showed that the area can still be prone to flooding as revealed by a photograph of the 1970 floods in the adjacent Carlton Street.   In the past this area of the town was called the Moor and was generally only good for the grazing of animals.

Excavations are taking place on allotment plots as they become available and only a small proportion of the land has been investigated so far using one metre square test pits taken down to the underlying boulder clay. Being allotments, the land has been turned over many times and the team have found Neolithic arrowheads next to Roman pot.

However artefacts from the full range of archaeological ages have been found except for the Bronze Age. Richard showed many of these, including some finely knapped Neolithic tools made from black flint. He showed Iron Age pottery and mentioned a basalt rotary quern and a saddle quern.

Roman period pottery includes fragments of Holme-on-Spalding ware. Although lots of Roman pottery has been found, Richard and his team do not think they represent the presence of a Roman cemetery. There have also been shellfish finds including oyster shells which Richard would love to date.

More modern materials have also been found ranging from clay pipes and Victorian crockery to a plastic Renault hub cap.

Richard is clearly excited by what the future may reveal but he states categorically that he doesn’t want the complications of bodies or gold which must be referred to the authorities.

If you want to see some finds from these excavations they are currently on display in the entrance of the Bridlington North Library.

The vote of thanks was given by our Prior Maureen Bell. She expressed thanks for a brilliant presentation and looked forward to hearing more about this ongoing project.