The Royal Residences Network logo
Funded by the AHRC
The University of Reading
The University of Aberdeen

Yeavering

Yeavering, Northumberland, lies in the shadow of the Cheviot Hills, below the hillfort of Yeavering Bell. Lying west of Dere Street, beyond the old Roman frontier, local sites and finds suggest an active Romano-British population. The site is named by Bede in AD 731 as Ad Gefrin, a place visited by King Edwin where baptism also took place. In 1949 air reconnaissance revealed the outline of enclosures and buildings in the field north of the Wooler to Kirknewton road. Excavations by Brian Hope Taylor from 1952-62 revealed a settlement, the earliest 6th century phase characterised by simple arrangement of rectangular halls. The Great Enclosure, possibly a cattle kraal, provided a focus, but at the heart of the settlement a major hall complex was rebuilt and expanded in the 7th century.

Prehistoric monuments provided a framework for activity. In its most developed phase, the settlement included a timber theatre (Structure E), built to house large gatherings. Even as Hope Taylor’s excavations were in press, new air photographs revealed cropmarks to the south of the including a pair of halls and a prehistoric henge. Yeavering: A Palace in its Landscape [YEP] is an environs project developed from Durham staff engagement with The Gefrin Trust which cares for and manages the site. We have undertaken geophysical survey on the site identifying new features, while assessment and transcription of LiDAR data is also providing new insights. A project design is in development with further survey, geoprospection and excavation planned for the site and its environs.

University of Durham
Investigators: Dr Sarah Semple, Dr David Petts and Dr Brian Buchanan, Department of Archaeology, Durham University.
Collaborating organisations: The Gefrin Trust, Northumberland National Park, Northumberland County Council,
English Heritage and the Glendale Gateway Trust.