Forty Years' Researches in British and Saxon Burial Mounds of East Yorkshire
Publication Date 29 Apr 2019
OverviewA self-taught archaeologist, John Robert Mortimer (1825-1911) published this record of his excavations in east Yorkshire in 1905. A corn merchant and brewer by trade, he became fascinated by fossils and flint implements after a visit to the Great Exhibition in 1851, and paid local labourers for any finds they brought to him. From 1863, he began to dig in the Bronze Age barrows near his home in Driffield, as well as an Iron Age cemetery and some Anglo-Saxon burials. The book is notable for its skilful illustrations, by his teenage daughter Agnes. Although his understanding of stratigraphy was limited, Mortimer's recordings are full of detail, providing data on archaeological sites which were already under threat of unsystematic plunder. He was anxious that his collection should stay in the area: it was eventually accepted by the local authority, and remains a valuable archaeological resource.