A warm winters morning at Saltburn by Sea on the Yorkshire Coast. As day breaks surfers make there way to the water for the early surf. Rising out of the water and protruding into the North Sea is Hunt Cliff marking the start of the Jurassic Coastline. This part of Hunt Cliff like much of the east coast of England has suffered a great deal of coastal erosion. But sadly here we lost a major archaeological site at the start of the last century. This part of Hunt Cliff between Saltburn and Brotton on the Cleveland Way Trail was the site of 1 from a known 5 Roman signal stations built between the Tees and the Humber around 367 to 385 BC. At this point in Roman history there empire was under attack from pirates and possibly even Pic’s coming across Hadrian’s Wall. The signal Stations were probably built to warn locals of raids, but they were not just for communication the were also designed as a fortification. The Stations were enormous structures with walls nearly 2.5m thick bastions in the corners and a central turret 15m long at Hunt Cliff, finally the fort was surrounded by a ditch.
Before the last of Hunt Cliff Station fell into the North Sea, William Hornsby excavated the remaining site in 1911-12. His dig discovered coins dating back to 364 BC and other historical artefacts which are today in the Doorman Long Museum. It is unclear what exactly happened at Hunt cliff’s Roman Signal Station but the dig discovered wide spread burning of the area, and with the discovery of 14 human remains in the well located within the walls, there seems little other explanation than a violent attack.
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