EYO4065 - North Street Pumping Station




Location North Street
Grid reference Centred SE 60088 51777 (9m by 9m)
Map sheet SE65SW
Unitary Authority City of York, North Yorkshire



York Archaeological Trust





The excavation, within a 6m diameter shaft to house a pumping station for the River Ouse flood alleviation scheme, provided a well stratified closely dated sequence demonstrating changes in river/land management and waterfront activities from the 2nd century to the 15th century. The earliest features dated to the 2nd century, the most significant of which was a robbed deeply piled foundation trench for a river retaining wall. Three sandstone blocks parallel to the wall may have been associated with or have formed part of a replacement waterfront structure. Two larger blocks may have been part of a riverside building. All the Roman structural elements were completely sealed by a substantial deposit of alluvium, 0.20m - 0.70m deep. This may represent a single large flood event, or several smaller episodes. A long series of land management strategies using wattle hurdle fences and revetment timbers was revealed in the post-Roman period. The earliest wattle structure, a fence line running parallel to the River Ouse, was found collapsed under dumped deposits which dated to the 8th century. The sequence of dumped deposits was found interleaved with alluvial deposits. These deposits were highly organic and contained domestic debris, industrial waste and the redeposited demolition debris. They were cut by a terrace and wattle was used to consolidate the surface of the plateau of the terrace and wattle hurdles were used to revet the bank. Material appears to have quickly accumulated on the terrace, filling it and sealing the wattle structure, continuing the dumping activity and dating to the 9th century. The most elaborate wattle revetment structure was constructed on a pebble and stone surface and comprised five lines of wattle hurdles which each closely followed the river bank and horizontal wattle held in position at the base of the slope by larger revetting timbers. Two further phases of structural activity using wattle were identified. An interesting departure in the form of revetment occurred in the 11th century, and may be considered an attempt at land reclamation. Timbers were used to define three sides of a rectangle, and material was used to deliberately infill the rectangle. The nature of the material dumped on the river bank maintained a similar character through the 11th and 12th century. Timbers were used to stabilise the river bank in this period. Dumping, interspersed with alluvial deposits, continued to build up during the 13th century with the surface of the ground gradually becoming level. At this point, it can be surmised that from the change in use of the land, a riverside wall had been constructed to the east of the excavated trench. Part of the foundations of a building and associated floors, and contemporary build-up outside the building were recorded and a later wall foundation also dated to the 13th century. It is not possible to interpret the precise form of these buildings from the available evidence, but they appeared to be of modest scale. Three large post-pits and a robbed wall foundation indicated the construction of a larger building on the site, which was covered by shallow build-up and a night-soil pit feature which dated to the 14th/15th century. All later material was truncated by 19th century development of the site. RCHME Microfilm Index PRN: 6091. Interim : bulletin of the York Archaeological Trust 3-13 Vol 18/No 4/Winter 1993 York Archaeological Trust annual report 19-20 1993-1994 Further NMR entry 1319729 with AIP E.36.0093 for North St Pumping main trench. Assumed it relates to this entry.

Sources/Archives (2)

  • --- Unpublished document: YAT. 2015. SW of the Ouse.
  • --- Unassigned: NMR. NMR data.

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

  • Roman river \wall (Monument)

Child/subsequent Site Events/Activities (5)

  • North Street Pumping Station - natural deposits (Ref: 1993.1)
  • North Street Pumping Station - Roman (Ref: 1993.1)
  • North Street Pumping Station - Anglian (Ref: 1993.1)
  • North Street Pumping Station - Anglo-Scandinavian (Ref: 1993.1)
  • North Street Pumping Station - medieval (Ref: 1993.1)

Record last edited

May 13 2020 11:35AM


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