St John's Street, Coventry. A Programme of Archaeological Investigations

Birmingham Archaeology, 2017

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Birmingham Archaeology (2017) St John's Street, Coventry. A Programme of Archaeological Investigations [data-set]. York: Archaeology Data Service [distributor]

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St John's Street, Coventry. A Programme of Archaeological Investigations

This report provides a detailed assessment of the results of excavation, salvage recording and watching brief undertaken at the site of a former car park located between St John’s Street and Much Park Street, Coventry (NGR SP 33687866), in 2008. The results have demonstrated that this represents one of the most important medieval sites to have been excavated in Coventry and is of national significance.

Whilst the earliest phase of activity at the site dates to the 12th-13th century, more intensive activity occurred during the 13th-14th century. The features identified were primarily large pits which varied considerably in their form and presumably function. A deliberate and regulated construction programme was introduced in the 14th-15th century. This was defined by the regularisation of plot boundaries, numerous pit cutting events and the construction of stone building foundations. The 15th-16th century saw a dramatic increase in the level of activity across the site. The pits were located in long rows orientated east to west, in an arranged layout consistent with plots running back from Much Park Street. During the 16th-17th century there was a reduction in the frequency of pit cutting across the site. The same trend can be observed during the later post medieval and 19th and 20th century period with far fewer intrusive features were identified.

Medieval evidence provides a rare insight into the development of Coventry highlighting its role in craft production, trade and industry. A highly important and varied artefactual assemblage has been recovered from the excavations including pottery, CBM, metalworking waste, animal bone, textiles, palaeoenvironmental evidence, wood, glass, clay pipe and a large quantity of small finds, including artefacts and material types which are of national importance. Specialist assessments of the artefactual evidence have demonstrated the great potential that this assemblage has to enhance our understanding of the site and the history of the City of Coventry.

Full analysis and research would undoubtedly and would provide evidence relating to the development of the City and its place and status within England in the medieval period. The results from the combined historic, cartographic, archaeological and artefactual resources can be used to provide an extensive and detailed picture of Coventry’s medieval plots and the activities contained within, including the structures and backplots. The successive lack of major development on the site had preserved an area of medieval Coventry which in other more developed towns and cities would otherwise have been lost.

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