HISTORIANS and metal detector enthusiasts believe they have found York’s first metal recycling centre – dating back to 1066.

A ten-year project aimed at discovering the site of the battle of Fulford, which preceded the better known battles of Stamford Bridge and Hastings, has uncovered more than 1,000 pieces of iron.

Historian Chas Jones, who led the research, said the items included arrowheads and axe heads, but there was also strong evidence of metal working indicating the reprocessing of weapons used in the battle.

“We found several ‘smithing hearth bottoms’ – the remains of the molten metal which dribbles down during the reprocessing of the weaponry ironwork,” he said.

“You could say this was York’s first metal recycling centre!”

Mr Jones said the finds were currently undergoing X-ray fluorescence examination at the University of York’s Department of Archaeology, at Kings Manor.

“The X-ray fluorescence allows the precise metal composition to be determined and this will help eliminate modern iron alloys and match related pieces of metal,” he said.

“The iron finds support the idea that metal was gathered and recycled in the area just behind where the fighting took place, after the battle was over.

“Scandinavian experts suggest what we have found are items that the Norse victors at Fulford were in the process of manufacturing into other pieces when the Battle Of Stamford Bridge took place, and the site was abandoned.

“This is why we think so much material has been left behind.”

He said the recycling area was close to the proposed access route into the 720-home Germany Beck housing development at Fulford.

But he said this had been raised at a public inquiry and dismissed by developers before the scheme was given outline planning permission. “The next stage will be a detailed planning application,” he said.

He said the ten-year project had involved members of the Fulford Battlefield Society and of the York Metal Detectorists Club, and a detailed report on the results of the project would be published in February.