Excavations at Mermaid Yard, Exeter 1977-78 (Exeter archive site 63)

Exeter City Council, Cotswold Archaeology, 2015

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Exeter City Council, Cotswold Archaeology (2015) Excavations at Mermaid Yard, Exeter 1977-78 (Exeter archive site 63) [data-set]. York: Archaeology Data Service [distributor] https://doi.org/10.5284/1035200

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Excavations at Mermaid Yard, Exeter 1977-78 (Exeter archive site 63)

From January-August 1977 and May-June 1978, the Exeter Museums Archaeological Field Unit undertook excavations at Mermaid Yard in advance of new housing. The excavations were funded by Exeter City Council.

The site was at Mermaid Yard, the former coaching yard of the Mermaid Inn, off Market Street, at SX 9195 9234. The site straddled the defences of the former Roman legionary fortress at Exeter.

The site was excavated within the foundations of a Victorian building adjacent to Mermaid Yard on its north-western side. The building was approximately 30 metres north-east/south-west by 12 metres north-west/south-east and it had been provided with a considerable number of small cellars as well as broad and substantial foundations. In addition to the damage caused by the Victorian foundations, the pits of a medieval bell-making foundry removed much of the underlying stratification.

Remains of the post-medieval, medieval and Roman civil periods, including a later Roman town house and a street were recorded overlying remains of the Roman military period. Two ditches of the Roman military period at Exeter (c AD 55/60 - c 75/80) were identified. These ditches were associated with the defences of the legionary fortress. Part of the rampart was also observed along with fragmentary remains of a timber building flanking the via sagularis. Roman military levels were first encountered at about 30 metres above Ordnance Datum.