Archaeologists have praised the public after discovering artefacts from across the centuries in York
Intricately-carved sections of medieval windows which could hint at the lost friary beneath York Guildhall are being examined by archaeologists who have made discoveries ranging from the Roman period to the 1940s during a summer-long excavation.
A wall plaster adorned with floral motives and animals, described as “beautiful” by an archaeological team who said they were “overwhelmed” by the response of an intrigued public, accompanied two sections of wall at a depth of two metres, thought to represent the friary buildings.
A former water gate would have provided river access to the site, while two trenches revealed an early 19th century garden with a plaster pathway snaking towards the river wall.
A trackway full of bricks, worked stone and plaster would have been built almost exactly 300 years ago.
“Now that the excavation work has been completed, we need to attempt to understand the date, form and function of the remains that we have uncovered,” said Mitchell Pollington, of leaders AOC, who plan to clean, identify and catalogue all the material.
“We always thought that there would be a great deal of interest in this site, but we couldn’t have anticipated the numbers of people that wanted to get involved.
“The enthusiasm and hard work of the volunteers has been amazing. Many of them could easily go on to a career in archaeology.”
The popularity of the project and the size of the site meant places on the team had to be limited, but organisers hope to involve more would-be excavators in researching the vast number of artefacts.
“Community support has provided us with a unique opportunity to gain a much better understanding of this key historical area of York,” said Sonja Crisp, of the City of York Council.
“The archaeological dig has unearthed artefacts dating back to the Roman era and a number of important historic artefacts which provides us with a significant insight into York’s 2,000 year-old history.”
The Young Archaeologists’ Club took over the site for a day.
“The children especially had a wonderful time,” said Tara-Jane Sutcliffe, of the group.
“They loved the opportunity to take part in an excavation and clean finds.”
- Sessions are expected to be held in the Guildhall complex during the autumn and winter. Visit aocarchaeology.com/hiddenguildhall or email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more and take part.
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