VILLAGERS are going public on an astonishing range of historic finds, discovered during a massive archaeological exploration.

Volunteers have found more than 2,500 artefacts - many going back thousands of years to the last Ice Age - which give tempting glimpses into the history of the tiny community of Thornton-le-Street.

The village between Northallerton and Thirsk is at the centre of a £98,000 heritage Lottery Fund project exploring Roads into the Past.

On Saturday, February 10 organisers will hold an open day, when there will be displays and talks on some of the artefacts uncovered so far, with experts on hand to answer questions.

The event will also see the launch the second half of the project which will carry on until November.

A further major archaeological dig will be held between May 21 and June 1 with enthusiasts invited to get involved.

It’s being run in partnership by the Thornton-le-Street History group and archaeology company Solstice Heritage.

Anne Stockdale, secretary of the group said: "The modern village of Thornton-le-Street is part of an incredibly rich archaeological and historical landscape.

"People have lived in the surrounding area since the last Ice Age - one of the major arteries of Roman Yorkshire passed through or close by the village - and the scheduled earthworks of medieval Thornton-le-Street can still be seen around the modern houses.

“We have been astonished at the sheer number of objects we have found - over 1,200 in one field area alone - and by the amount of flint and by the lack of metal finds.

"Archive research has also been carried out and it has been so exciting to discover information from many sources and start to see a story of people and places emerge.”

Over the summer 12 test pits were dug in gardens and on open space around the community to find out more about the shrunken medieval village and a large trench was opened in one garden to uncover the remains of road front medieval properties and to see if a Roman road had also run along it.

“What we actually found was the line of the earlier road, which has shifted west over the years. This well-built road surface yielded up medieval, and later, pottery, and has given us a clearer understanding of the layout of the precursor settlement to modern Thornton le Street,” added Mrs Stockdale.

Alongside the archaeological digs, volunteers have been delving into archives and working with the North Yorkshire county records office. A geophysical survey has also been carried out.

The Open Day is being held on February 10 at Thornton-le-Street Village Hall from 10am to 3pm. For more information, or to volunteer, go to or