Construction workers in the English city of Lincoln have discovered a medieval wall, which is believed to have been part of a 12th-century house or shop.
The find was made as they tore down a three-storey brick building at High Street and Tentercroft Street, which lies just south of the city centre, as part of a project to build a new road through Lincoln. Archaeologists were called in to carry out a survey on the site
Based on initial findings it is thought that the wall may be part of a building dating from the High Medieval period, perhaps around the 12th century.
Leigh Brocklehurst, from Pre-Construct Archaeology, explained, “Our initial excavation work has unearthed a wall which looks to be Medieval or earlier. Nearby on the site we have also started to uncover what is essentially a cross section in time; behind a Medieval wall we can see several layers which each date from a different period, from Victorian to Medieval and Roman at the very bottom.
“You can see pieces of pottery and bone through the layers allowing us to date them. Although we have what looks like a Medieval dwelling, we do not know at this stage its purpose – whether it was residential or if a trade was carried out here. It is a very exciting discovery and we will now start to carefully dig around each discovery to see what else we can find out about the site’s past.”
Archaeologists are expected to continue to explore the extent of the remains over the next few weeks, by which time the county archaeologist and other senior officers will have best determined how to treat the remains, with options at present being to preserve in situ, remove for conservation, or incorporate into the new building so that a degree of public access can be provided.
Will Munford, director of Pre-Construct Archaeological Services, added in an interview with the Lincolnshire Echo that this home probably belonged to a poorer family. “In the High Medieval period the area was called Wigford and the High Street as we know it would have been lined with houses and shops and lots of religious institutions and churches,” he commented. “Other examples of buildings of a similar date include the Norman House (46-47 Steep Hill), the Jews Court (2 and 3 Steep Hill) and St Mary’s Guildhall further down the High Street.
“We hope the work on this site will tell us about what was going on in the back streets and alleyways, where life was perhaps a little less comfortable, and we can expect to find remains of industry such as pottery manufacture, along with evidence of the domestic lives of people living close by. We have already found a number of pits from the later medieval period cut in to the building, containing dumps of rubbish including large cooking pots.”
The discovery was made during construction of the East-West Road Link, a £22 million two-year project to improve traffic in the city. Adam Round, the East-West Link Road project manager, added “From the work we had taken in the design stages, we knew to expect archaeology in this area. As such we had scheduled time into the scheme programme for archaeological investigations to take place so this discovery won’t delay the construction of the road.”