Prehistory Research Section


The Prehistory Research Section of the Yorkshire Archaeological & Historical Society (YAHS) is devoted to bringing the prehistoric past of Yorkshire alive for the public through its programme of meetings, lectures, trips, exhibitions, conferences, publications, etc. and through its annual publication, the Prehistory Research Section Bulletin.

Prehistory is the study of human society and culture from its beginnings until the advent of writing. As far as the UK is concerned, this takes us to the start of the Roman or Romano-British period. The task is quite literally immense: to present the archaeology of what is easily the longest period in human cultural history, from the early Palaeolithic to the late Iron Age, as it affects by far the largest county in the country – Yorkshire. Yorkshire boasts a rich and complex archaeological heritage covering all prehistoric periods and landscapes: from the Mesolithic site of Star Carr to the huge Neolithic burial mounds or ‘howes’ of the Wolds, from Bronze Age stone circles, burial cairns and rock art on gritstone Pennine moors to Iron Age chariots in the low-lying stretches of east Yorkshire, from the pre-glacial Palaeolithic harpoon found in Victoria Cave in the limestone scars above Settle to the unique Neolithic henge complex between the Swale and the Ure at Thornborough.

Archaeology was once thought to be a fusty subject, fit only for ageing academics and other highbrows, with little public appeal. Today - with the success of the Channel 4 programme, Time Team - and the rapid growth of what we might call the ‘heritage industry’, archaeology now has a prominence with the public that it has never previously enjoyed. Opening up the world of archaeology to the general public, enriching their cultural experiences, putting them in touch with both their local and national heritage, is an exciting and rewarding challenge. It is our strong hope that the Prehistory Research Section, and its vehicle of communication the Bulletin, will play their full part in this programme.

Click on the captions below to find out more about Yorkshire’s remarkable prehistoric past:

: M. Sanders
Thornborough Henges

rock art
Rock art
"Tree of Life" Stone,
Snowden Carr, Washburn Valley, N.Yorks.
(Late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age,
c. 2000 BC)
polished stone axe
Polished Stone Axe
Woldgate, Bridlington, E.Yorks.

"Balyclare type"

Widdop Reservoir,
folkton drums
Folkton Chalk Drums

nr. Bridlington, E.Yorks.