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OAAF Collection Highlight – Prehistoric Lithic Collections from Yorkshire

For Flint Friday we wanted to highlight an ADS collection and recipient of the Open Access Archaeology Fund, a series of exciting Prehistoric lithic collections from Yorkshire. In fact today we highlight six different collections of prehistoric material for the price of one! This archive contains information from six originally private large collections of mainly worked items (with some waste material), dating from the Mesolithic to the Iron Age,found mainly within the historic county of Yorkshire. 

These collections consist of over 16,000 individual items that cover virtually the entire range of prehistoric flint and chert tools, as well large numbers of pottery sherds, items of jet and glass, and a few of metal (mostly coins). Few details of these collections have ever been published or brought to the archaeological record before and yet from the sheer size and diversity of these items have the potential to add to our knowledge of both known sites and areas of prehistoric activity and entirely new areas. 

A photo of four flint arrow heads in a row

Keith Boughey, an archaeological researcher and member of the Yorkshire Archaeological and Historical Society (YAHS), compiled this dataset and applied to both the Open Access Archaeology Fund and the Yorkshire Archaeological and Historical Society to fund the deposition of these expansive datasets with the ADS.

  • Prehistoric Lithic Collections from Yorkshire: Appleyard, Feather, Hardisty, Heys, Waterhouse and Woodward. [Released: 16 March 2020]. Collection doi: 

When asked recently about his experience with the fund, Keith said: 

A Battle Axe from David Heys Lithics Collection

“As both an independent amateur archaeological researcher and an active member of the Prehistory Research Section of the Yorkshire Archaeological and Historical Society (YAHS), with a keen interest in the prehistory of Yorkshire in particular and of the north of the UK, one of my activities has been the location, assessment and curation of privately held collections of prehistoric lithics – worked tools (arrowheads, axeheads, blades, knives, scrapers, etc.) made predominantly of flint dating anywhere from the Early Mesolithic to the Bronze Age. 

Without access to professional funding I was advised to apply to the Open Access Archaeology Fund to assist with the cost of placing the digitised contents of several such collections with the Archaeology Data Service (ADS) and was successful. The result was that these formerly private and unpublished collections are now freely accessible on the web to anyone with an interest – whether professional archaeologists or just the wider public. The fund was a great help and I would happily recommend the fund to anybody in a similar situation.”

The Yorkshire Archaeological & Historical Society is a learned society and registered charity. Since its origins in 1863 the mission of the society has been “The examination, preservation and illustration of the History, Architecture, Antiquities, Manners, Customs, Arts and Traditions of the county of York…”. The Society organises lectures, excursions and projects, and produces their own newsletters. They also host a series of archives, rare or early books and other printed materials, which are now housed in the Special Collections department of the Brotherton Library, University of Leeds.