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Tyne and Wear HER(16121): Newcastle, Haymarket, medieval remains - Details

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Newcastle, Haymarket, medieval remains




Metal Workers Workshop

Blacksmiths Workshop



Physical Evidence

During excavations in 2008 and 2009 on two Newcastle University sites (the New Music Building and INTO Building) medieval remains were found. This site is a good distance outside the town walls yet was occupied from the 11th century. The earliest evidence was a series of linear gullies, two pits and a well. The gullies were aligned NW-SE, perpendicular to Percy Street. Radiocarbon dating from one of the gullies gave a date of between 1020 and 1160 AD. They are probably boundaries dividing the land into burgage plots. Away from the street front a waterlogged pit was dated to between 1020 and 1190 AD. Another pit was cut by a much larger sub-circular pit 4m in diameter and 2.6m deep. The base of the pit was filled with sandstone rubble and grey silt-clay. The fill was radiocarbondated to 1040 to 1260 AD. Above the stone deposit the pit widened out to form a bowl-shaped cut. This feature appears to have been a stone-lined well. The well was backfilled and cut by a later pit. Postholes may indicate a timber structure. There were also many small pits. In phase 2 the gullies were replaced by culverts and stone buildings were constructed. Radiocarbon dating suggests that one of the culverts was constructed towards the end of the 13th century. A stone building of industrial function was recorded. Outside it there were a series of industrial waste deposits containing coal, clinker, smithing waste, forging waste and hearth bases. Radiocarbon dating of one of these deposits gave a date of between 1270 and 1390 AD. It is likely that this was a blacksmith's shop. Within the building was a layer of silt clay, possibly a floor deposit, containing early 12th to 14th century pottery. Nine inter-cutting pits containing industrial waste, were radiocarbon dated to 1270 to 1400 AD. One of the pits contained a stone architectural fragment with latticed decoration, a possible cresset stone (contained tallow and wicks in its hollows like candles to produce light). A hearth gave a radiocarbon date of 1185 to 1280 AD. The hearth and postholes may have been part of a timber structure at the back of the burgage plot. A rectangular building measuring some 6.5m x 9m was recorded by its interior was damaged by modern foundations. In phase 3 the industrial building on the frontage was replaced by a second building. The culvert became part of a wide substantial wall. The clay floor was partially replaced with flagstones. The fill of another culvert contained 13th to early 14th century pottery and part of a decorative frieze. Industrial deposits overlying the culvert contained hammerscale and 14th century pottery. Pits located south-west of the building contained waste from ironworking and some domestic refuse. In the late 13th or 14th centuries the stone from the building and wall was robbed out and soil containing 13th to 15th century pottery built up over the site suggesting that the land away from the street frontage was being cultivated at that time. In phase 4 the building on Percy Street was no longer in industrial use. The culvery was blocked between 1450 and 1640 AD. The pits were sealed by sandy silt containing 13th to 16th century pottery. A linear gully was backfilled sometime between 1460 and 1640 AD. A pit containing 16th century pottery was recorded. In phase 5 sandstone rubble, probably from the demolition of the building, overlay the site. Soil up to 1.2m deep above this contained 18th century pottery. In this soil a calf skeleton was found. It probably died of natural causes on one the smallholdings on the site. In phase 6 two mortared stone walls and a handmade brick and flagstone floor were found. These are probably one of the buildings shown on Hutton's map of 1770. A sub-circular barrel-lined pit was recorded. A wooden pail was recovered from the fill, suggesting that it was used for water storage. It was backfilled with black silty soil containing brick rubble, 19th centu




N. Swann, 2013, Excavations within the grounds of Newcastle University, Percy Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, Archaeologia Aeliana, Fifth Series, Vol 42, pp 207-234; Archaeological Services Durham University, 2011, INTO Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne - Archaeological full analysis; Archaeological Services Durham University, 2009, INTO Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne - Post-excavation assessment; Archaeological Services Durham University, 2009, New Music Building, King's Walk, Newcastle upon Tyne - Archaeological full analysis report

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