That’s it. That’s as far as we go. The archaeological excavation at Aireyholme Farm, near Great Ayton, is done. Today has been spent tidying and cleaning for photographing and recording.
Going on the evidence of oral tradition of the farmer at Aireyholme that the boyhood home of Capt. James Cook was within a stand of larch trees on National Trust land a preliminary excavation was carried out last year. Stone foundations, broken roof tiles and bricks and a small section of cobbled floor indicated an 18th century building. Lime mortar suggested domestic use.
This year a more ambitious trench was opened revealing a 5 x 4 metre building with a cobbled floor and a hearth in one corner. Finds included shards of pottery and window glass and a small piece of a bone comb all of which could be 18th century. The comb has been sent away for carbon dating and we are hoping to have archaeomagnetic dating carried out on the hearth.
There is still work to be done recording the surface. A plan needs to be drawn meticulously detailing every cobble. Levels need to be taken. Afterwards the remains will be covered with a geotextile fabric to separate the archaeology and to protect it from weeds and root growth. Then the site will be backfilled.
A very rewarding experience.