Below you can download the Wonders of the Wolds comic, produced by York Archaeological Trust (YAT) and artist Paul Christopher Bourne to showcase the responses from the communities of the Yorkshire Wolds during the engagement phase of the Yorkshire Wolds Research Strategy.

As part of the Food for Thought project, YAT undertook engagement with communities across the Strategy’s six study zones (Birdsall, Driffield, Flamborough, Garton-on-the-Wolds, Londesborough and Pocklington) which you can discover more about here. As part of this, a survey was completed by 163 people featuring five open-ended questions to elicit responses based on local people’s feelings and values in relation to the landscape of the Wolds. The responses to the questions (in particular ‘what would you take your friends to see?’ and ‘what is your favourite thing about the Yorkshire Wolds?’) were brought together in the comic along with some representations of the history, archaeology and attractions of the Strategy’s six study zones.

The comic features two central characters, Jo the scarecrow and Han the crow, whose names were suggested by a prominent 19th-century headstone in the churchyard in the deserted Wolds village of Wharram Percy: that of Joseph and Hannah Crow. The story is told in 13 panels, together with a centre spread that illustrates the area of the Wolds as defined for the Strategy, and takes the form of a dialogue between Jo and Han, as Han acts as a guide to the Wolds while she and Jo go exploring.

Their exploration of the Wolds takes in visual representations of five of the study zones, some of which are evoked for distinct periods in their history or prehistory, including Neolithic earthworks in Garton parish, the Iron Age chariot burial from Pocklington whose discovery was announced publicly in early 2019 (which was illustrated with advice from archaeologists at Malton Archaeological Practice (MAP) who had worked on its excavation), and a scene of a medieval canon of Bridlington Priory visiting one of its local windmills.

Where possible, archaeological reports and location photographs were referred to by the artist. Paul has worked on previous commissions for York Archaeological Trust to produce artwork in a colourful, child-friendly style. Although evidence of this sort was brought to bear in the artistic process, the emphasis was on producing fun and evocative imagery, rather than attempting accurate reconstructions of the sites under consideration. 

Additionally, given YAT’s record of working with learning groups, particularly via the education and outreach workshops provided by its York-based attractions, the comic has proved fruitful as a springboard for literacy project work with local schools as a further engagement phase, the results of which you can find here.

Click on the link below to download the comic. We hope you enjoy discovering the Yorkshire Wolds with Jo and Han!