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Back to school for lovers of Dales history

[Wednesday 18 April 2007]

ANCIENT times in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales will be brought to life in Grassington later this week.

The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) has organised a day school in association with the Yorkshire Archaeological Society to look at some of the latest information to be unearthed about the area.

Some of the caves have evidence of human activity going back 10,000 years

Robert White - YDNPA

The event, on the theme of 'Archaeology and the Historic Environment in the Yorkshire Dales', is the latest in a series of annual day schools, according to Robert White, the YDNPA's Senior Conservation Archaeologist.

"It's a series of talks discussing some of the results of recent archaeological and historical surveys and research in and around the National Park carried out by the YDNPA and others," he said.

"As in previous years, this one looks like being a sell out - three-quarters of the places have already been taken."

The topics covered this year range from the influence of geology on the historic environment of the National Park to a talk on the Yorkshire Dales stone industries and details of some unexpected discoveries made during the construction of the large gas pipeline to the south of the National Park.

The day school runs from 10am to 4.30pm on Saturday, April 21, in Grassington Town Hall and attracts an audience that ranges from university students and lecturers to local history societies and interested individuals.

Anyone wanting further information should telephone 01756 751690 or e-mail herinfo@yorkshiredales.org.uk

  • The day school follows on from a one-day conference in Settle in March that unveiled the findings of an Archaeological Cave Audit in the Yorkshire Dales National Park that was commissioned and funded by English Heritage.

    Experts spent a year examining more than 200 caves in the Dales to try to find out how many contain glimpses into our past

    Robert said the findings would be used to develop a plan to look after the caves and their contents in the future.

    "Some of the caves have evidence of human activity going back 10,000 years.

    "But they are vulnerable to all sorts of natural pressures - from water to burrowing animals - as well as from cavers and from walkers.

    "The aim of the project was to assess how well the archaeological deposits are surviving and to draw up management strategies to protect them. These may include improving interpretation, arranging regular monitoring or even excavation."

    The survey covered the Yorkshire Dales and the Peak District and was organised by the University of Bradford and the University of Sheffield with a steering group that included the Yorkshire Dales and Peak District National Parks.

    In 2005 the YDNPA reported that old bones found in caves in the Yorkshire Dales had overturned theories about the extinction of one of Britain's hunting cats.

    Experts had believed that the lynx became extinct in the UK more than 4,000 years ago when the climate cooled and became wetter.

    But carbon dating funded by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority on the bones suggests the cats were still around in the early medieval period some 1,500 years ago and were perhaps hunted to extinction or lost their territory as farming intensified and woodland areas were reduced.

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