Baton passes to Volunteers to excavate stadium
City of York Council
2015 - 2015
As part of developments for the new Community Stadium in York, archaeologists from York Archaeological Trust led a series of community engagement projects to help explore beneath the site.
Hoping to uncover secrets of Roman York, volunteers including students, local history enthusiasts and local residents assisted YAT staff on the site which was first excavated ten years ago.
“The site that we know is of archaeological significance from aerial surveys and our own geophysical surveys of the ground,” comments lead archaeologist on the project, Ian Milsted.
“This is one of two sites identified which we believe were the site of either encampments or training schemes for soldiers. We excavated the first ten years ago, and now this development will give us chance to explore the second.”
“York was one of the most northern outposts of the Roman army, and this site could well have been where soldiers learned to build the marching camps which offered them protection during their campaigns in the north and during the building of Hadrian’s Wall. York’s land is boggy and difficult to work with, so it would have offered a challenging yet realistic example of what was to come during their border campaigns. There are similar, occupied encampments all the way up to the borders which show how the Roman soldiers put into practise what they learned in York during their early colonial times.”
Tim Atkins, Project Manager of the York Community Stadium project at City of York Council comments “The fact that the land may have been used for training 2000 years ago bodes well for its future. The new stadium will provide a home for a new generation of professional and amateur sportspeople, so it is a great thought that they will be honing their skills just a few metres above where their Roman forbearers would have done the same. We are fantastically lucky to have so much history on our doorstep – and below our feet – in York, particularly here, where new history will be made in the not too distant future.”
The community dig lasted for four weeks, with the site then handed over to building contractors. Read testimonials from some of those volunteers involved with the project here.