Geophysical survey at Stanwick, North Yorkshire (awarded 2022)

A gradiometry survey of the Late Iron Age ‘royal site’ of Stanwick North Yorkshire, undertaken in 2022 has begun to fill a significant gap in our understanding of the unexamined parts of this complex. Within the Stanwick enclosure, a number of linear features were identified, probably representing later prehistoric trackways and field boundaries. These are associated with several possible ring ditches, perhaps representing an associated roundhouse settlement or small round barrows. Much of the interior of the complex is, however, devoid of evidence for occupation. It may be that any structures were too ephemeral to be revealed by geophysical survey. However, given the efficacy of the method in the region, and detection of significant Iron Age and Roman occupation outside the ramparts by our recent surveys, these initial results may indicate there was little settlement within the earthworks, beyond that previously identified around the Tofts. The results suggest that Stanwick may have shared the tendency of other British Oppida to operate on an ‘inside-out’ model where settlement and industrial activities were relegated to the environs of the complex while the enclosed interior was largely reserved for other activities, such as assembly of people or corralling animals. It is hoped that further survey will test this hypothesis.