High Hunsley Deserted Medieval Village

This listing expired on June 5, 2023. Please contact for any updated information.

Location: High Hunsley, Cottingham HU20 3UR, UK

Season: July 15, 2023 to August 13, 2023

Session Dates: The excavations run from 15th July to the 13th Aug 2023

Application Deadline: June 5, 2023

Deadline Type: Rolling


Discount for AIA members: No

Program Type:
Field School, Volunteer

RPA Certified:

Ethos Heritage CIC

Project Director:
Richard Coates BA, MA (Arch)

Project Description:

The site is one of the most important and best preserved Deserted Medieval Villages in the north of England. Established in the 6th Century and recorded in the Dooms Day book it survived as a thriving settlement until the 16th century, when it slowly declined. The last household left in 1821. It was the site of a beacon used to warn the country of impending invasion, this village was a key location during the Pilgrimage of the Graces, the major rebellion against Henry VIII over his break with Rome.

In 1823 Hunsley (then both High and Low), Baines’ History, Directory and Gazetteer of the County of York stated that it was formerly “a place of some consequence,” where “the foundations of ancient buildings are sometimes dug up”. Occupations at the time included two farmers, a corn factor (trader), a yeoman, and a gentlewoman.

The site of this deserted village was marked on the 6-inch Ordnance Survey map of the 1850s, in a pasture field between Hunsley House and Hunsley Cottage suggesting a linear village along the east-west path between them. The uneven quality of the field surface observed probably reflects its former use, Reports from the landowner has indicated that ‘worked stone’ and ‘footings’ had been found in the field, suggesting the area had been ploughed in the past.

The documentary evidence for Hunsley suggests the village was of below average size in the fourteenth century. Although it was not recorded in the early sixteenth-century lay subsidies, the village was mentioned in lay taxation returns until 1677, usually individually, but more often grouped with other places, including Little Weighton, in the later seventeenth century.

Lost for over 200 years, this exciting project aims to uncover the secrets of the village, explore its history, and discover the stories of the people who lived here.

Geophysical surveys carried out on the site have identified around 19 house platforms, a possible dove cot, a large structure in the north-west corner of the site, and other, as yet unidentified, archeological features.

Excavations in 2022 focused on one of the house platforms and confirmed the presence of a large structure which was in use between the 13th-15th Centuries. The site was finds rich, with significant amounts of pottery and animal bone recovered. Participants also retrieved a number of well– preserved metal artefacts.

In 2023, participants will continue to excavate this building, and have the opportunity to work in a new trench over the large structure in the north-west corner of the site.

Have a look at our website and Ethos Heritage CIC | Facebook to get more details on the site and the excavations

If interested or want more details email 

Period(s) of Occupation: The site is Anglo Saxon and Medieval with evidence of possible Roman occupation nearby. 200 meters from the site is an Anglo Sazon cemetery built on top of a Bronze Barrow which are dotted around the surrounding area

Ethos Heritage CIC will have three highly experienced Archaeologist on site to ensure all participants are provide with guidance and training. In addition, all staff are fully qualified in First Aid, safeguarding, Mental Health and are police cleared The site is Carbon Neutral with full recycling of all garbage and composting of food waste. In addition, the toilets are water free ecco composting type. Cultural and social trips will be run in the evenings

Project Size: 25-49 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: 1 Week

Minimum Age: 16

Experience Required: None. Full training will be provided

Room and Board Arrangements:
Accommodation is camping in a farm on top of the Yorkshire Wolds with views across Yorkshire, the Yorkshire Coast and the North Sea. The site is pasture surrounded by Horses, Hares, Deer and local wildlife. Eco toilets and gas showers and solar electricity service the site and has mains water. A Fridge is available to store food if required and the price includes Free Tea and Coffee. Collection from the nearest train station which is only 6 miles away is free of charge. Getting to train station is easy as it's on the main railway line. from London and Manchester. We will provide full assistance in terms of directions and how to book if required. Excavation Cost £10 per day Camping £10 per day (Tents can be provided free if required) Food £10 per day full board One week (7 Days) - £210 Two Weeks (14 Days) - £420 Three Weeks (21 days) - £630 Four Weeks (30 Days) - £840

Academic Credit:

Contact Information:

Richard Coates

8 Chestnut Avenue


East Yorkshire, United Kingdom

HU17 9RB

United Kingdom

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