An archaeologist has been honoured in recognition of his dedicated work in the city.

Dr Peter Addyman, the former director of York Archaeological Trust, officially collected the title of Honorary Freeman at a ceremony at the Mansion House on Wednesday.

The title now means he can drive three sheep across Ouse Bridge or graze three beasts on York's Knavesmire.

Dr Addyman, who is originally from Harrogate although now lives in York, said: "It was a great honour as there are not too many Honorary Freemen around and you don't often get one if you're not a York native.

"I'm told I'm now allowed to drive three sheep, or, if I really want to, three beasts, across Ouse Bridge and I believe I can also graze three cows on the Knavesmire. These are very useful things and I expect to use these prerogatives very soon."

The title of Honorary Freeman is given to those who have served the city with distinction, or those with very notable links to the city.

The recommendation was put to the council by the Guild of Freemen of the City of York. He was nominated at a meeting of the council by Coun Steve Galloway and seconded by Coun David Scott, leader of the council's opposition Labour group.

The Lord Mayor of York, Coun Irene Waudby, who presented Dr Addyman with a specifically designed vellum scroll at the ceremony, said: "It was a great pleasure to bestow this honour on Peter, particularly as I had links with him when I was Lord Mayor six years ago.

"It was a coincidence that earlier in the day I had launched the Jorvik Viking Festival which Peter actually started when he was director of the Festival. This was a very well-deserved honour and it was nice that Peter's family were there to share it with him."

Dr Addyman is a tenth generation Yorkshireman and retired professional archaeologist.

He set up the York Archaeological Trust in 1972 and directed it for 30 years, being responsible for most of the archaeological excavations in and around York during that period.

The trust under his leadership created the Jorvik Viking Centre, one of Britain's most popular archaeological attractions, and other archaeological attractions such as the ARC (Archaeological Resource Centre) and Barley Hall in York.

Before coming to York he was a lecturer at the Universities of Belfast and Southampton with special interests in Anglo-Saxon and medieval archaeology.

Dr Addyman, a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, is currently chairman of the Standing Conference on London Archaeology (SCOLA) and president of the Yorkshire Philosophical Society.

He has served on a number of national advisory bodies on matters to do with the past including the Royal Commission on Historical Monuments, English Heritage's Ancient Monuments Advisory Committee and Places of Worship Panel, and the DCMS Illicit Trade Advisory Panel.

Dr Addyman will join the likes of peace campaigner, Joyce Pickard, former vice-chancellor of the University of York, Sir Ron Cooke, and opera singer, Dame Janet Baker, who have been previously been honoured with the title.