EYO4583 - 12-18 SWINEGATE

Type

EXCAVATION

Location

Location 12-18 SWINEGATE
Grid reference Centred SE 6031 5199 (82m by 69m)
Map sheet SE65SW
Unitary Authority City of York, North Yorkshire

Technique(s)

Organisation

York Archaeological Trust

Date

1989-90

Map

Description

Area excavation of medieval and post-medieval levels was concentrated on the Grape Lane, Little Stonegate and Back Swinegate street frontages. Deep trench excavations were located over areas of maximum destruction to reveal the entire sequence of occupation. A total of fifteen trenches were excavated and these revealed a complex sequence of deposits dating from Roman times to the present day. Incomplete preservation of the structures of early modern date were revealed fronting Swinegate. These included a rectilinear brick-lined drain, a roughly built limestone structure with a timber and cobbled threshold and a semi-sunken stone-lined feature with a brick floor. An extensive area on the Grape Lane frontage was stripped down to the late 15th century levels. This spanned three properties and a lane. Two of the properties were aligned with their gable end with the street. An area was also stripped at the junction of Little Stonegate and Back Swinegate. On the Little Stonegate frontage the plans of the two properties dating to the early 16th century were recorded. Buildings of this date appear to have been robbed on Back Swinegate and the plans for four of their predecessors were revealed. In the deep excavations the backyards of the four properties running between Swinegate and Petergate were investigated and showed evidence of cess pits, dumping and cultivation as well as two alleys of different dates running between the two streets. Between these deposits part of the medieval cemetery of St Benet's church was excavated. In all 27 inhumations were removed, the majority being within oak coffins. The church became redundant in the first quarter of the 14th century. Roman levels were encountered in 2 deep trenches beneath the cemetery was an extensive metalled surface, possibly a palaestra or a parade ground within the Roman fortress. This overlay a timber floor of interleaved planks, which may have been used for mixing mortar within the fortress when the fortress was rebuilt in stone, and a robber trench for a stone wall. Below again were pits and post-holes from the earliest timber structures on the site. In the second trench a limestone wall measuring over 1m wide with an offset foundation course was excavated. It was aligned north-north-west/south-south-east and was associated with a number of subsidiary walls and compact surfaces of clay and crushed stone and mortar. These features are clearly part of a substantial late Roman building of some importance, although its function is uncertain. The investigation of foundation pile positions continued following the main excavations. This was necessitated by the discovery of burials presumed to be within the cemetery of the church of St Benet. A total of 99 inhumations was removed from trenches designed to investigate the limits of the cemetery. Many of the burials were within oak coffins; the lid of one was decorated with an incised Nine Mens Morris board. Further masonry walls of Roman date, parts of the legionary fortress were encountered. NMR sources: Britannia : a journal of Romano-British and kindred studies inc. consolidated index for volumes 1-25 (1970-1994) Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies XXI/1990/325 Interim : bulletin of the York Archaeological Trust 15.1/1990/2-10 Medieval archaeology : journal of the Society for Medieval Archaeology Index to vols 1-5 (1957-61); 6-10 (1962-66); 11-15 (1967-71); 16-20(1972-76); 21-25 (1977-81); 26-30 (1982-86); 31-35 (1987-91); 36-40 (1992-1996) XXXIV/1990/221 York Archaeological Trust annual report /1989-1990/28-29

Sources/Archives (9)

  • --- Unpublished document: YAT level 3 archive report.
  • --- Report: 2015. 12-18 Swinegate C14 dating.
  • --- Report: 2015. 12-18 Swinegate, 14 Little Stonegate & 18 Back Swinegate Osteological Analysis.
  • --- Unpublished document: YAT. 2015. Burials at St. Benet's - article on a furnished grave.
  • --- Unpublished document: YAT. 2015. THE PRE-CONQUEST COFFINS FROM 12-18 SWINEGATE AND 18 BACK SWINEGATE.
  • --- Unpublished document: YAT. 2015. ARCHAEOLOGICAL INVESTIGATIONS AT 12-18 SWINEGATE, 14 LITTLE STONEGATE AND 18 BACK SWINEGATE.
  • --- Unpublished document: YAT. 2015. THE WOODEN WRITING TABLETS FROM EXCAVATIONS AT 12-18 SWINEGATE.
  • --- Report: YAT. 2016. Wooden Writing Tablets from 12-18 Swinegate, York.
  • --- Unassigned: NMR. NMR data.

Related Monuments/Buildings (2)

  • Eboracum (Roman York) (Monument)
  • St Benets Churchyard (part of) (Monument)

Child/subsequent Site Events/Activities (26)

  • 12-18 SWINEGATE (Ref: 1989-90.28)
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Record last edited

Jun 15 2020 2:43PM

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