Excavations uncover 1,800 year old residents
Helmsley Group Ltd
2017 - 2017
The redevelopment of the former Newington Hotel by the Helmsley Group Ltd has provided a fantastic opportunity to explore and study a part of York’s Roman past.
Throughout the spring and early summer of 2017 York Archaeological Trust carried out the excavation and recording of a multi-phase Roman cemetery sited close to Tadcaster Road, to the south of York city centre.
The YAT team revealed further elements of a Roman cemetery first exposed in excavations undertaken by L.P. Wenham on the neighbouring Trentholm Drive in the 1950s. This cemetery, perhaps one of numerous isolated burial grounds, is part of an extensive funerary landscape known to line the southern approach road to Eboracum (Roman York) stretching over the course of a mile or more.
The recent excavations encountered the in situ remains of 76 individuals, and despite the depredations of medieval ploughing and later building development a number of the graves survived with a superb level of preservation.
Included among exciting finds have been graves good in the form of pottery, dishes, jars, flagons and beakers and also traces of the coffins in which the dead were laid to rest. Notably very little in the way of personal adornment has been found, only a single jet pin and the badly corroded copper alloy remains of what may have been part of a head or hair band.
These burials are currently thought to date to a period spanning the 2nd to 4th centuries AD and, as the finds suggest, to have been of people of a relatively lowly social status.
Post excavation work is currently on going and more detail will be revealed when this has been completed.
Many thanks are extended to the Helmsley Group Ltd who are funding the project and to GEM Construction (York) for their support on site.