At 8/12 The Butts, an early Roman pit was followed by
a stone surface, but this did not seem to be the road which would
have been expected on this site. Both were cut by a large ditch
which may have been part of the Civil War defences - similar ditches
have been seen on sites to either side. At 14/24 The Butts, an ongoing
watching brief has revealed a Roman stone-lined well.
A borehole investigation was recorded archaeologically at Newport
St (the former bus station, now a car park). This type of archaeological
recording is increasingly common, and is a cost-effective way of
gaining a view through deep deposits with minimal disturbance to
the remains. This site, which is in the Severn floodplain, has a
very large depth of archaeological deposits (perhaps up to 7 or
8m), with Roman slag layers in some cases reaching 1.5m thick, and
evidence of waterlogging. A full archaeological evaluation of this
site is now underway, with several trenches open.
Evaluation in the centre of the Cathedral roundabout showed
that, while much of the earlier archaeology had been removed by
cellars, Anglo-Saxon and medieval deposits survived in between the
cellars. At the Guildhall, a borehole investigation revealed about
5m of deposits, with evidence of Roman structures or demolition,
post-Roman 'dark earth' cultivation soils, and medieval deposits
including a possible floor.
Assessment of a 17th century building at 32/34 Lowesmoor has
shown that this probably dates from the rebuilding of the suburb
immediately after the destruction of the Civil War. The building
contains many important features, including early stencilled wall
sites beyond the city centre have also proved interesting. Previous
fieldwork has demonstrated the importance of the Perdiswell area
in the Bronze Age and in the Roman and medieval periods. A watching
brief at Perdiswell Young Peoples' Club proved the presence of a
ditched enclosure which had been identified from aerial photographs
- it is just visible as a dark line on the Worcester Photomap. So
far the enclosure has not been dated, as there are virtually no
finds, which means that it is most likely to be either prehistoric
or Anglo-Saxon in date. Meanwhile, a large evaluation on the site
of a proposed Park & Ride car park at Whittington Road did not find
any of the expected medieval features, but instead a scatter of
flints indicating Mesolithic occupation.
2004 is a big year for publications on Worcester. Already
out is the final report on Nigel Baker and Dick Holt's research
on the church and town planning - Urban growth and the medieval
church: Gloucester and Worcester. Their work has already provided
the underpinning for archaeological research into medieval Worcester
for over a decade, through a paper drawing on this project and the
results of the Deansway excavations which was published in Antiquity
in 1992. Later in the year, the Deansway excavation report itself
will appear. Titled Excavations at Deansway, Worcester, 1988-89:
Romano-British Small Town to Late Medieval City, this massive
publication will be a benchmark for the study of Worcester's development
up to around 1600. Together, the two reports will help to take research
into the city's past on to a new level.
Worcester City's Historic Environment Record is now staffed
- Sheena Payne was appointed as the city's first Historic Environment
Record Officer in November, with a remit to develop the record and
make it more accessible to the public. Sheena can be contacted at
firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone on 01905 361824, or
by writing to Worcester City Historic Environment Record, The Commandery,
Sidbury, Worcester WR1 2HU.
Work on the Worcester Urban Archaeological Strategy project continues,
with a launch event planned at the Guildhall on April 26th. So far
the work has concentrated on the landscape and deposit characterisation,
and on drafting period statements for the summary research framework.
Reports on all of these will be available through this website.