Capt. Cook’s Boyhood Cottage

The fifth day of this year’s archaeological excavation at Aireyholme Farm near Great Ayton on a site where oral tradition says the James Cook lived as a boy before embarking on his naval career and gaining fame as an explorer.

The remains of an 18th century building have certainly been uncovered with much lime mortar indicating it was a dwelling rather than agricultural. On the right a wall line of dressed sandstone blocks can be seen. And on the left is a section of cobbled stone floor which seems to be intact across the whole floor.

All salvageable material has been removed at some time leaving the site covered with demolition debris: broken pantiles and brick, and stone rubble. Each stone has to be painstakingly drawn and recorded before it can be removed which the archaeologist, Kevin Cale, is doing. To his left, in the top corner is what is thought to be an hearth. This has not yet been excavated as it may be possible to use archaeomagnetic dating to give an estimate of the date when it was last fired.

Finds include pottery shards, pieces of both window and bottle glass all pointing to 18th century use. And a sixpence dated 1950!



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