Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Dig Lich Street

Welcome to the Dig Lich Street blog, which will provide information on progress, events and opportunities to find out more during the archaeological work on Worcester's Cathedral Plaza roundabout.
Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service are conducting the excavations, which are the first investigation works to support the Worcester Cathedral square improvement scheme.
Removing the topsoil using a mechanical excavator

Work began on the site earlier this month, with a mechanical excavator removing the topsoil down to the level of the archaeological remains preserved beneath the roundabout, under the watchful eye of Project Officer Richard Bradley. Our archaeologists are now in the process of clearing material away by hand to reveal the footings of the buildings that once fronted Lich Street, whilst the excavator continues to remove the remaining topsoil. Once the machinery is off-site and the archaeology has been fully exposed, there'll be chances for members of the public to take a closer look
The redevelopment work will only affect the upper levels of the archaeological deposits, but we've encountered a number of cellars, which need to be excavated fully as they contain loose, unstable rubble deposits. Most of the rubble is removed using the excavator, before final careful cleaning by hand.
Removing rubble from an infilled cellar.
Already, the finds are giving us glimpses into the earlier history of the site. One of the most common and informative types of artefact found on archaeological sites is pottery: hard-fired ceramics can survive in the ground for thousands of years, and tell us much about the fashions, technology, trade and economy of Worcester in the past.
The two examples below span 1000 years of Worcester's history. On the left is a piece of the rim of a 2nd-4th century A.D. Roman Severn Valley Ware storage jar, probably made locally: we know that there was a kiln nearby. The distorted shape and patches of grey colouration are due to mis-firing, so it's likely that this was either a 'waster', discarded from the nearby kiln, or possibly used as a 'second'. The brightly-glazed piece on the right is from a 13th-14th century Malvernian medieval jug, probably manufactured in the kilns at Hanley Swan in South Worcestershire.
Early finds from the excavation: Roman (left) and medieval (right) pottery
There'll be regular updates, and news of opportunities to find out more, on this blog. You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook. There'll be opportunities to share memories of the area at drop-in sessions, and via the online form.
Got any questions? We'll be adding Frequently Asked Questions to this page as the project progresses. You can also contact us directly.

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