Monument record MYO4289 - Anglian settlement

Summary

The settlement at Dixon Lane/George Street that is strikingly similar to that seen at 46–54 Fishergate. It has also been suggested that the trading settlement at York extended along those parts of the banks of the Ouse that ran within the defended limits of the Roman settlements, though stratified structural evidence for similar forms of occupation there has not yet been uncovered. The settlements at 46–54 Fishergate and Dixon Lane/George Street bear close comparison.

Location

Grid reference SE 6072 5146 (point)
Map sheet SE65SW
Unitary Authority City of York, North Yorkshire

Map

Type and Period (1)

Full Description

The settlement at Dixon Lane/George Street that is strikingly similar to that seen at 46–54 Fishergate. It has also been suggested that the trading settlement at York extended along those parts of the banks of the Ouse that ran within the defended limits of the Roman settlements, though stratified structural evidence for similar forms of occupation there has not yet been uncovered. The settlements at 46–54 Fishergate and Dixon Lane/George Street bear close comparison. In terms of overall layout they are very similar. Both are defined by boundary ditches, rectangular post-built structures were placed close to the ditches, and pits and sunken-featured buildings were located around the structures. In addition there are no clear property divisions between the buildings, though in the case of Fishergate, two lines of pits interpreted as possible palisades along major property divisions were located to the south of the buildings. The rectangular post-built structures at both Fishergate and Dixon Lane/George Street were poorly preserved; in addition no internal surfaces were seen at either site to help interpret the function of the buildings. Despite these limitations comparisons between the two can be made. Buildings at both sites were clearly placed very close to the boundary ditches, less than 1.5m away. At both sites the stake- and post-holes of the external walls of the buildings were exceptionally shallow, often less than 0.15m deep. No obvious doorways were excavated at either site (largely due to poor preservation) though these were usually placed midway along the long sides of buildings. Very little daub from these buildings was present at either site. There was limited evidence at both sites of slots for internal partitions; in the case of Fishergate these were located between 3.0 and 3.5m from one gable end, while at Dixon Lane/George Street Building 7 had a slot 2m from the gable end. Within Buildings 4 and 6 at Dixon Lane/George Street there were longitudinally placed lines of stake-holes perhaps from internal partitions; no similar features were seen in the Fishergate buildings. The buildings at the two sites were clearly different in terms of size, those at Dixon Lane/George Street being noticeably smaller, and therefore possibly served a different function. The Fishergate buildings (Structures 1–3) ranged from over 11m to over 14m in length, but were consistently 5.5m wide. Building 3 at Dixon Lane/George Street was 5.4m wide, and Building 5 was c. 6.5m in length and c. 4.5m wide.
The Fishergate site shows that buildings could be aligned with the long axis parallel to or at right-angles to the boundary ditch. It is difficult to determine if this was also the case at Dixon Lane/George Street because the orientation of Buildings 1 and 2 is unknown. Buildings 3–7 were aligned with their long axes parallel to the boundary ditch, though Building 4 was slightly off this alignment. These buildings may represent the continual replacement of a structure on a single plot, which may explain why they are all orientated the same way. Sunken-featured buildings were excavated at both Fishergate and Dixon Lane/George Street. At both sites they seem to have been ancillary to the main buildings, but were located close to them. The example at Fishergate was 3.25 x 1.6m in area and 0.5m deep with stake-holes around the edges, while the Dixon Lane/George Street example was over 2.7 x 1.7m in area. Sunken-featured buildings of broadly contemporary date are known from many sites including Hamwic and London. At Fishergate the area around the buildings was peppered with rubbish pits, together with numerous stake-holes interpreted as representing light temporary structures involved in specialist craft activities such as fur preparation (ibid., 53–4). It is possible that the mass of undated stake-holes placed in Phase 3 at Dixon Lane/George Street may represent something similar.
There is a notable absence of wells at both Fishergate and Dixon Lane/George Street, but given that both sites were close to the river this could have provided both the water supply and an easy method of rubbish disposal.
Although the site at Dixon Lane/George Street was small in terms of both the area excavated and the number of Anglian features present, it yielded evidence both for manufacturing and trade. Slag, antler tine tips and bone offcuts are indicative of iron-working and antler- and bone-working in the area. A fragment of lead sheet may hint at lead-working. Imported pottery and glass were also present, showing both the trade in, and use of, high-status objects. A significant proportion of the pottery recovered was imported from both elsewhere in England and from Europe, including Ipswich ware, pottery from the Low Countries/Northern France and high-status Tating Ware. In addition, a small fragment of imported glass was found. Residual Anglian pottery in contexts of later date also included Bardorf Ware and Northern French Black Ware. The nature of the finds suggests the site had similar functions to 46–54 Fishergate, where abundant evidence for craft/industrial production, and trade both with other parts of Britain and continental Europe, was seen. There was clear evidence that the settlement at Fishergate was re-organised in the later 8th or early 9th century and soil from domestic middens mixed with charcoal was spread across the site to seal it. The settlement was subsequently re-occupied, though on a lesser scale than before, and without the evidence for foreign contacts and trade. It is possible that the levelling deposits of Group 27 at Dixon Lane/George Street followed by re-occupation in the form of Building 7, may mirror this pattern, though a lack of good dating evidence makes this impossible to prove. Clearly there are broad similarities between the remains seen at Dixon Lane/George Street and 46–54 Fishergate, suggesting that they follow similar patterns of development, and probably represent part of a single wic or trading settlement.


YAT, 2005, ROMAN, ANGLIAN AND ANGLO-SCANDINAVIAN ACTIVITY AND A MEDIEVAL CEMETERY ON LAND AT THE JUNCTION OF DIXON LANE AND GEORGE STREET (Unpublished document). SYO1919.

Sources/Archives (1)

  • --- Unpublished document: YAT. 2005. ROMAN, ANGLIAN AND ANGLO-SCANDINAVIAN ACTIVITY AND A MEDIEVAL CEMETERY ON LAND AT THE JUNCTION OF DIXON LANE AND GEORGE STREET.

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Related Events/Activities (2)

Record last edited

Feb 7 2017 11:10AM

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