Issue: Biological evidence from Anglo-Scandinavian deposits at 16--22 Coppergate

Publication Type
Abstract Excavations by the York Archaeological Trust in 1976--81 produced a complex series of organic deposits, in which a wide range of organisms was preserved, especially for the ninth to eleventh centuries (Anglo-Scandinavian). The report starts with an account of the results of the excavations in `Archaeological introduction' by R A Hall (438--46). There was evidence for Roman occupation, with no reoccupation until the mid-ninth century. In the tenth century the area was divided into four tenements (A--D), possibly at the same time as the Coppergate street was laid out.A review of biological remains found elsewhere in York is next given, followed by the methods employed and lessons learned. The biological evidence consists of plant remains, worm eggs, insect remains, molluscs, other invertebrates, and vertebrates. A list of plants and animals (excluding vertebrates) is given. This is followed by the main part of the report, which documents the biological evidence from the site by period, usually by tenement and feature type. Each period ends with a summary and discussion. The earliest evidence described is for Period 3 (the earliest Anglo-Scandinavian phase, from mid-ninth century) and included material from pits which predated the tenements. Many of the deposits contained faecal matter, and there were small amounts of dyeplants. Period 4A, with a realignment of boundaries, is next analysed. Faecal matter was present in pits, and surface layers had been used for waste disposal, including food remains. Phase 4B saw a series of post and wattle structures erected within Tenements A--D along a street frontage. The range of taxa was similar to the previous periods, but there was also evidence for textile working or wool cleaning, some processing of flax, dyeplants and bees and beeswax.Period 5A was a short-lived reorganisation, with results similar to those from 4B. Period 5B had a series of partly sunken plank-built structures constructed, and contained deposits from floors, as well as deposits to the rear of the tenements. One pit had a wicker lining. This period was represented by woodland plants, dyeplants, and a range of food plants, and a concentration of honeybees was recorded. In Period 5C additional buildings were constructed. Many of the pits contained faecal matter and a wide range of foodplants. There was a change in function for many pits, which were possibly left open as sumps or wells.Lists are next given of samples and analyses of plant remains, insect remains, shellfish, fish bones, parasite eggs, and faecal concretions. The final part of the report is a discussion and synthesis of various themes, some by period, such as structural materials and features within buildings, pits, drains, gullies, plant foods, plants used as flavourings, evidence of health, bees and beeswax, dyeplants and textile working, water supply, and climate. LRA
Author Harry Kenward
Allan R Hall
Editor Peter V Addyman
Publisher York Archaeological Trust
Council for British Archaeology
Year of Publication 1995
Volume 14
ISBN 1 872414 59 1
Figure/Plate/Table/Ref Figure:    Plate:    Table:    Ref:
Note Date Of Issue From: 1995 Editorial Expansion: The Archaeology of York Vol. 14, fasc. 7
Source TaggedExceptions
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438 - 446