ARCHAEOLOGY volunteers have unearthed a watermill believed to be at least 500 years old in North Yorkshire.

The discovery was made on Yearsley Moor, near Helmsley in Ryedale.

As well as finding the remains of the building, the Yearsley Moor Archaeological Project and North York Moors National Park apprentices also discovered pottery, bone, coins, glass and some stone objects which have mystified the volunteers.

The volunteer were working under the supervision of professional archaeologist Luigi Signorelli.

The find was a surprise, as official archaeological records, and early Ordnance Survey maps produced in the 1850s, make no mention of such a building.

By analysing fragments of pottery recovered from the site, volunteers estimate the mill went out of use during the mid-eighteenth century.

Although documentary evidence is scarce, the volunteers believe it was owned by the Fairfaxes of Gilling in 1560, after it was sold to them by William Wyldon of Yearsley.

The archaeology team now hopes to confirm its theories about the mill and to find out how it worked and when it was first constructed.