Just under fifty members and guests attended the final
meeting of this year's programme to hear an illustrated talk by Martin
Lightfoot about the 2006 excavations at Scholes Lodge Farm. Martin was
senior project manager on the excavation and co- wrote the subsequent
excavation report. He is an experienced archaeologist who enjoys working
in the open air, and revels in the excitement of unearthing unusual artefacts.
He studied at Nottingham University and has worked as an archaeologist
for over twenty years.
He began his talk by showing an aerial photograph of where the dig took
place, thus allowing the audience to picture the site in relation to Cross
Gates and Scholes village. For many of us it was particularly interesting
to see the work which had taken place virtually on our doorsteps. The
dig uncovered two significant buildings one medieval and one post medieval,
which it is believed were connected with the former manor house and dry
moat just north of the site. They were only able to find a solitary nail
from the construction of an 11th century building which lead to the belief
that the medieval building was constructed of organic materials such as
wattle and daub. Totally unexpected however was the finding of a sherd
of roman pottery since there was no other evidence of occupation on this
site in roman times.
The post medieval building was built of brick, and artefacts found suggested
it was used for dairy farming. From the late 18th to the early 19th century
there was also the possibility of a small steam engine being housed there,
possibly to power a threshing machine. However the most bizarre find was
four horse's hooves placed in a straight line within the foundations.
Martin said no one had come across anything like this before and there
is no knowledge in folk lore or any where else of superstitions associated
with horse's hooves. Other finds included a glass bead and a copper button
from the 18th century. The earliest finds from the site were artefacts
from the bronze age, proving the existence of some kind of human activity
on the site between 3300 and 1200bc.
Martin's knowledge of his subject and informative and interesting delivery
resulted in many questions from the audience about archaeology in general
and the dig in particular. There was a general feeling from the audience
that a great deal more could be learned if the rest of the site could
be excavated, but Martin said that unfortunately this would prove impractical
for several reasons. Nevertheless, his interesting and informative talk
shed some light on the historical background to this particular area of
Scholes, and the unusual land formations on the left hand side of the
road, just before the Coronation Tree junction. The meeting closed with
tea/coffee and mince pies in celebration of the coming festive season.
The next meeting will be on Monday 25th January 2010 when
Keith Barber will bring us a nostalgic visit to old Leeds with photographs
from the 40's, 50's and 60's.