Peterborough - "Town Volume"


As well as initiating a major new programme of investigation at Durobrivae, the NVAT has been active in ensuring earlier archaeological excavations are properly documented. There were seven sites dug under the auspices of the late Don Mackreth from mid 1970s to mid '90s and which it is hoped to document in a so-called 'Town Volume'. Don was a former Cathedral Archaeologist, and former director of the Nene Valley Research Committee's Field Unit.

Feasibility work was undertaken during the summer by our trustee and the Peterborough Cathedral Archaeologist, Jackie Hall. She writes, "Don't get too excited - the work has not been miraculously transformed into a major publication. BUT, we now know where everything is (both finds and documents) and we can see the gaps. The archive is even more dispersed than we thought."

While the finds are largely to be found in the Museum and its stores, the finds for one of the sites is completely missing. The large and important material archive for Bridge Street does appear to have been written up, although mostly not illustrated. Most importantly, this assessment and project design identifies the significance of each site.

While the Bridge Street site is important for its finds assemblages and its long history, most of the other sites relate to early Peterborough, specifically the town and abbey (Burh) in the 10th and 11th centuries. These tie in closely with more recent work on the abbey, particularly a review of the Anglo-Saxon abbey by Richard Gem, a conservation clean of the extant foundations, and the identification of a substantial pre-1116 (pre-fire) assemblage of architectural and sepulchral stone by Jackie Hall.

We hope that this new work will act as a spur to publish the old excavations, since together they form a substantial body of evidence regarding the abbey and town. Bridge Street, and the late medieval house published on the other side of the precincts should be published separately.

If anyone was involved with the following excavations or has any photos of them please let us know if you have not already been in touch with Jackie Hall.

Peterborough Cathedral Cloisters, 1982 Peterscourt / Peterborough Cathedral Monastic Boundary, 1981 Bishop's Road Garden, 1992 Bishop's Vegetable Garden, 1996 Archdeaconry House Garden, 1987 Tout Hill Close, 1972 to 1983 Lower Bridge Street, 1975-76

West Front of Peterborough Cathedral, C Wild, 1829


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