The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

The Ryedale Windypits

Cave / Rock Shelter


'Ryedale Windypits' by Richard Myerscough, from the University of Hull.

The Ryedale Windypits are located in the Hambleton Hills within the North York National Park and have attracted both archaeological and geological interest since the Rev. Buckland first descended 'Buckland's Windypit' in the 1820's .For the last 50 years they have been popular with cavers and now provide important protected bat roosts. The name is derived from cold air rising from the pits with such velocity as to blow out leaves and other debris .The Windypits are vertical fissures in the Upper Jurassic Corallian Group (Lower Calcareous Grit and Coralline Oolite Formations) formed by cambering over the underlying Oxford Clay Formation on scarps and parallel to fault scarps. They differ from the fluvial caves in the Corallian, e.g. Kirkdale. The concentration of Windypits in the Hambleton Hills west of the valley of the River Rye is now seen as stress fracturing associated with a combination of tectonic features and examples from The Cotswolds and Roquefort-sur-Soulzon in Southern France will illustrate the fracturing process associated with their formation.
At least 4 of the Windypits (Antofts , Ashberry, Buckland's and Slip Gill) attracted ancient peoples to use them as ritual burial sites . In The Neolithic Period (Radiocarbon date 1750+/-150bc) Beaker pots with selected animal and human bones /skulls were deposited in the pits. While in Romano-British times (C1st-4th) at least one pit (Ashberry) was used a temple site for ritual sacrifices using animal bones ,metal and other votive objects as sacrifices to the Gods of the Underworld. Parallels are to found in 'Windyholes' of Africa. The historical importance of valley of The River Rye and new Windypits to be discovered by Aerial Photograph survey, Geophysical investigation and excavation supported a recent application to Channel 4 'Time Team'.
fitzcoraldo Posted by fitzcoraldo
17th June 2003ce

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