Friends of York Archaeological Trust

Formed in 1975, The Friends of YAT membership gives members the opportunity to learn more about the latest archaeological discoveries the Trust are involved with as well as learn about life in the past. By joining the Friends, members make a valuable contribution to the work of the Trust as every penny of profit is donated directly back into the Trust to further its important work.

Benefits of membership include:

  • Visit Trust excavations
  • Participation in themed visits to archaeological sites across Europe
  • Access to the Trust’s lunchtime lectures
  • Subscription to the Trust’s Northern Archaeology Today publication
  • Free admission to the Trust’s attractions, The JORVIK Group
  • Discounts in gift shops, on Trust publications and training fees.


Prices start from £22 per annum. For more information, please contact Peter Connelly  

To keep up to date with the Friends of YAT, follow them on twitter.

A selection of images from recent days out with Friends of YAT

  • Site visit to Aldborough
  • Site visit to Lair Glenshee
  • Site visit to Lair Glenshee 2
  • Site visit to Lair Glenshee 3
  • Site visit to Wemyss
  • Site visit to the Govan Stones
  • Site visit to Normandy
  • Site visit to Piercebridge
  • Site visit to Corfe Castle
  • Site visit to Ironbridge
  • Site visit to Montgomery Castle

YAT Lunchtime Lectures

From October to April every year YAT stages public lunchtime lectures, supported by the Friends of YAT, on various YAT-related activities. Held in the Central Methodist Church Hall on St Saviourgate, York, the lectures are free for all to attend and provide an interesting insight into recent YAT archaeology projects and offer an opportunity to catch up on Friends activities. Lectures start at 12.30pm, duration 30mins, with Q&A after.


Upcoming Lectures:
Hidden Landscape: The Archaeology of the Humber Lowlands, Excavations at Skeffling 2016 – 2018 by Clare Jackson (YAT Project Officer)
Wednesday 3 April, 12:30pm, Methodists Church Hall, St Saviourgate York
In November 2016, Ian Milsted (the Head of YAT’s York based field team) presented a Lunchtime Lecture that delved into the landscape around Skeffling in East Yorkshire, and the fieldwork that was about to happen there.After the initial phase of fieldwork was completed in late 2016 the team returned to Skeffling in 2018 and through further fieldwork found a complex landscape shaped by 12,000 years of natural action and human activity, starting from when the area was a post-glacial inland river valley up to the period it became a major coastal estuary. The 2018 work was overseen by Clare Jackson and Clare’s talk will focus on the archaeology of the Roman to medieval periods that was uncovered during this work; archaeology that undoubtedly reflects the important land-use changes in this most fluid of landscapes.

Clare’s talk will be the companion bookend talk to the one given by Ian nearly 2.5 years ago; revealing how large scale projects can develop over time.


Past Lectures:

Recent Archaeological Work At Nottingham Castle by Laura Binns, Trent & Peak Archaeology.
Wednesday 6th February, 12.30pm, Methodists Church Hall, St Saviourgate York.
During her talk Laura will present the initial results of Trent & Peak’s recent archaeological work on the world famous Nottingham Castle. Laura will reveal how the excavations have not only gained new insights into the development of the castle but how they tie into the future of the castle – enabling renovations, a new exhibition space and a new visitor centre. Laura will finish her talk with further insights gained during the ‘We Dig the Castle’ participatory training excavation.

”Take the 3rd exit and head back in time” by Tom Coates, Supervising Archaeologists, YAT York Fieldwork Department.  Wednesday 5th December, 12.30pm, Methodists Church Hall, St Saviourgate, York.

During his talk Tom discussed the archaeological discoveries made at the City of York Council upgrade of the Wetherby Road roundabout during the Summer of 2018. Tom revealed details on the first possible Iron Age/Romano-British settlement situated immediately west of York, and his talk included insights into an array of finds, such as the environmental and timber structural remains that have survived within waterlogged deposits, as well as possible localised ancient industrial activity.


“Jailbreak: Community excavation at HMP Northallerton” by Emma Boast, Project Archaeologist with the York Fieldwork Department.

Emma will present the initial results of YAT’s community excavation at Northallerton Prison last October. Northallerton Prison has 18th century origins, with some of the original buildings designed by John Carr. YAT led a programme of community excavation and research into the Prison’s workshop, yard and detention wings, including the site of the famous punishment treadmill. YAT also provided access for special needs groups, including the RNIB, lead by Jen Jackson (YAT’s Community Engagement Manager) which explored innovative ways of experiencing archaeology.
Emma started her career at the Jorvik Viking Centre as an interactive and is well known for her expertise in Viking nålebinding techniques. She joined the York Fieldwork team three years ago and is a key member of the excavation staff.
“Marvellous Mesolithic Mycology” by Charlotte Wilkinson (YAT Conservator). Wednesday, 7th March, 12.30pm, Methodists Church Hall, St Saviourgate, York.

In her lecture Charlotte will cover the challenges and the approaches required to tackle the conservation of an unusual collection of humanly modified Mesolithic fungus found at the world famous Star Carr site in North Yorkshire. Over the last few years the YAT Conservation team have had the pleasure of working on numerous interesting materials and objects from this site including antler frontlets and birch bark rolls. This lecture will offer a rare insight into an unusual archaeological conservation conundrum – when a hazard becomes the object!


Misunderstanding the Mesolithic” by Don Henson (University of York). Wednesday, 4th April, 12.30pm, Methodists Church Hall, St Saviourgate, York.

Don asks: When you think of the Mesolithic what do you imagine? Is it, by any chance, a group of hairy men hunting a woolly mammoth with spears?In his talk Don will investigate how images of the Mesolithic are often stereotyped and betray biases in how the past is portrayed. He will explore how the clichés of gender, age, dress and activity can be taken apart to reveal a far more diverse, engaging and exciting understanding of our shared Mesolithic past.


“Revealing a Roman Cemetery, Excavations at the former Newington Hotel, Tadcaster Road, York” by Ben Savine (YAT Project Officer). Wednesday 3rd October, 12.30pm, Methodists Church Hall, St Saviourgate, York.

During his talk Ben will take in an overview of the previous Roman discoveries at and around Newington Place/Trentholme Drive from the 1820’s to the 2017 YAT excavation and the new research opportunities this recent work has opened up due to the discoveries made during post ex analysis”.
“YAT’s Five-Year Strategy: Building Better Lives Through Heritage” by David Jennings, YAT CEO. Wednesday 7th November, 12.30pm, Methodists Church Hall, St Saviourgate, York.
David will talk about the thinking behind YAT’s new Five-Year Strategy and reflect on ways in which YAT’s supporters, the Friends of YAT and many other partners, could help YAT to achieve those goals and deliver the key aspects of the strategy that will lead YAT into the next 50 exciting years.


“Collections at the Heart of JORVIK” by Christine McDonnell, Head of Collections & Archives. (6th December)
During her talk Christine will illustrate how YAT’s archaeological collections and collections knowledge sits at the heart of the Trust’s exhibitions; informing narratives, reconstructions and visitor enjoyment. She will also give a glimpse into some of the activity which happens behind the scenes before an exhibition can be launched to the public.



“Bringing the Past, Present and Future together: JORVIK Group Community Engagement in 2017” by Jennifer Jackson, Community Engagement Manager. (1st November)

In her talk Jen will focus on two of the community projects that she is currently involved with: Waterproof Memories, an oral history of the 2015 Boxing day floods in York and The Tang Hall Big Local Archaeology project, which has been investigating the area’s Roman pottery production. She will finish her talk by looking at plans for the future and a new upcoming exhibition in DIG.

“How Did That Get There?” Investigating the archaeology of disposal (4th October) 

During his talk Peter Connelly, YAT Project Director, delved into the archaeology of disposal over the last 500 years to uncover the not so obvious reasons as to why some objects get into the ground and others don’t.

The Varied World of Community Archaeology  (5th April 2017)
Dr Jon Kenny talked about the wide variety of local interests encapsulated by different communities around Yorkshire and his role in helping them to find out more about the past.


Hearthside stories: new research on food, cooking, and identity in the Age of Vikings (7th December, 2016)

Dr Steven Ashby, Senior Lecturer, Department of Archaeology, University of York, presented findings on a new research project at the University of York that uses cutting-edge scientific techniques to explore the ways in which pottery was used to transport, store, prepare and serve food and drink in Viking-age York.


Time and Tide (2nd November, 2016)

Project Manager Ian Milsted gave a talk on a major project that YAT are working on with the Environment Agency for a proposed coastal defence scheme in East Yorkshire. As part of the project team YAT are investigating a large and complex landscape where an entire sequence of human habitation over the last 12,000 years may survive in the tidal muds and reclaimed farmland of the North Humber shore.


Dramatic Discoveries at York Theatre Royal (5th October, 2016)

Ben Reeves talked about the discoveries made during the 2015 excavation of part of St Leonard’s medieval hospital, revealed during the recent renovation of York Theatre Royal. With the post-excavation analyses at a preliminary stage Ben shined a spotlight on some of the new structures identified during the recent work, the character of the archaeology the team encountered, the results from environmental samples, some of the fascinating objects recovered from the excavation and of course a little bit about the theatre itself.


The pottery from archaeological investigations at Rutson Hospital, Northallerton, North Yorkshire (6th April, 2016)

by Anne Jenner

During an excavation carried out by YAT in the heart of Northallerton during the Autumn of 2015 a very unusual assemblage of Post-Medieval pottery was recovered from brick lined feature. During the lecture Anne investigated what this intriguing assemblage represented and what it told us about the people who once owned it.


Tree-ring dating late medieval timber-framed buildings in York (2nd March 2016)

Dr Jayne Rimmer explored the use of tree-ring dating (dendrochronology) in the investigation of historic timber-framed buildings. To date, very few timber-framed buildings in York have been dated using this technique. This is despite there being a high number of surviving late medieval timber-framed buildings in the city. With the aid of a research grant from the Vernacular Architecture Group it has now been possible to sample and analyse timbers from a further three well-known late medieval buildings in York (including Lady Row on Goodramgate and All Saints Cottages on North Street). The results of this project has refined our understanding of these buildings and late medieval construction methods, and extended our knowledge of the use of dendrochronology in York.


Archaeological Conservation Abroad. (Wednesday 3 February)

YAT Conservator, Margrethe Felter, focused on the role of archaeological conservation in the field and on some of the projects she has been involved with outside of the UK over the last 10 years.  Working on archaeological sites abroad and volunteering with heritage organisations is enormously rewarding, leading to a whole host of new skills and experiences.



Palaeolithic Archaeology and the Caves of the Southern Magnesian Limestone. (Wednesday 2nd December)

Creswell Crags is famous for its caves, and the Palaeolithic archaeology contained within them, however, these caves represent a small number of those that are located in the Southern Magnesian Limestone of Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and South Yorkshire. Glyn Davies wtalked about the wider landscape of the Southern Magnesian Limestone and the numerous valleys and gorges that are known to contain caves and rock shelters. The talk also considered the caves archaeological potential, condition and future conservation.


The City of York Council Archaeologist:  A Career In Ruins. (Wednesday 4th November)

John Oxley, archaeologist with City of York Council since 1989, gave an illustrated review of what his role with City of York Council involves and how it has developed over the last 20 years.  Attendees learned how a local authority archaeologist contributes to the development of the Local Plan, is involved with assessing and commenting on planning applications, manages the Historic Environment Record, and encourages community involvement.




Looking Back and Looking Forward: Archaeology Live! in 2014 & 2015 (Wednesday 1 April 2015)

Toby Kendall, director of YAT’s successful and renowned Archaeology Live! annual summer traing programme, gave an overview of what was discovered at last year’s training dig and discussed what the team could potentially unearth this year.

‘Trading Histories and Imaginary Castles’: two community projects in the heart of Sheffield  (Wednesday 4 March 2015)

Anna Badcock, Regional Director of ArcHeritage, gave a brief overview of community projects based on the site of Sheffield Castle and the 700 year history of market trading at the same site.

Vikings In The High Arctic (Wednesday 4 February 2015)

The first of the Friends Of YAT 2015 Lunchtime Lecture series was delivered by Dr Ailsa Mainman (President of FOYAT), who  investigated the archaeological evidence for Viking trade and habitation in the High Arctic.