EYO303 - Barbican Centre




Location Barbican Centre
Grid reference SE 6081 5116 (point)
Map sheet SE65SW
Unitary Authority City of York, North Yorkshire



On Site Archaeology





An archaeological evaluation was undertaken at the behest of FPD Savills Property Consultants, on behalf of The Barbican Venture (York), around the Barbican Leisure Centre, York, from the 7th July to 12th December 2003. This work was undertaken in car parks, a coach park and hard and soft landscaped areas, in advance of potential redevelopment. An archaeological evaluation was necessary in order to ascertain the impact of any such development on underlying archaeological deposits and features. A total of fourteen evaluation trenches were excavated. All but one of the trenches encountered the natural subsoil, which lay between 0.30m and 2.20m below the modern surface. Over large areas of the site 19th and 20th century truncation had removed all archaeological deposits down to the natural. This was especially the case across the eastern half of the site. However, archaeological remains were encountered in some areas, indicating a range of periods of activity. Archaeological remains of Roman date were found within the west and southwest parts of the site. These included a number of linear ditches, occasional pits and evidence for a cemetery, in the form of at least one inhumation burial. The evaluation did not encounter any evidence for Anglian or Anglo-Scandinavian activity. A variety of medieval activities were identified during the evaluation. Close to the western boundary edge of the site a series of foundations and robber trenches representing the lost medieval church of All Saints, Fishergate were discovered. This parish was united with that of St Lawrence in 1585 and by the early 17th century the church appears to have been so heavily robbed that it was not included on John Speed’s map of the city. Little of the church was excavated but there were at least three phases of construction present. The graveyard associated with this church was also examined and was shown to contain a large number of intercutting inhumations. To the south of the church, within the Kent Street coach park, a number of medieval pits were found cutting into the natural clay. Although they appear to have been utilised for domestic refuse disposal during their backfilling at least some of these were probably originally dug for clay extraction. Close to the eastern boundary of the site a layer of medieval ploughsoil had survived the 19th century truncation. This sealed a small number of medieval features, in the form of ditches and shallow pits. The construction of the Cattle Market on the site in 1827 has had a major impact upon the survival of earlier archaeological deposits. Over large areas of the north and east parts of the site the Cattle Market had removed all archaeological layers down to the surface of the natural clay, with only features cut into this remaining. The demolition of the Cattle Market and construction of the Swimming Baths and Barbican Centre in the 1970’s and 1980’s have all added to the degree of truncation to the earlier archaeological remains. Even where the truncation has been less severe, such as the area of the church and graveyard, the 19th century concrete floors directly overlay medieval deposits, suggesting that all layers formed during the intervening post-medieval period have been stripped away. The evaluation has shown that the potential for archaeological survival across the site varies a great deal. However, significant remains of medieval and Roman date survive in certain areas.

Sources/Archives (2)

  • --- Unpublished document: On-Site Archaeology. 2003. Barbican Centre.
  • --- Unassigned: NMR. NMR data.

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Parent/preceding Site Events/Activities (1)

  • Barbican Centre (Ref: OSA03EV08)

Record last edited

Dec 24 2019 11:13AM


Your feedback is welcome. If you can provide any new information about this record, please contact us.