Excavations at Albany Road, Exeter 1984 (Exeter archive site 79)

Exeter City Council, Cotswold Archaeology, 2015

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Exeter City Council, Cotswold Archaeology (2015) Excavations at Albany Road, Exeter 1984 (Exeter archive site 79) [data-set]. York: Archaeology Data Service [distributor] https://doi.org/10.5284/1035216

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Excavations at Albany Road, Exeter 1984 (Exeter archive site 79)

The site, bounded by Cowick Street, Alphington Street, St Thomas' Station and the railway viaduct, was to have a large leisure centre and a new library built on it with work commencing in May 1984. Exeter Museums Archaeological Field Unit carried out a trial excavation on the site in 1978 in advance of the redevelopment scheme then current.

The main discovery was extensive evidence for bronze casting in the late 16th and early 17th century. This was found in two areas, one next to Cowick Street, the other about 50 metres away, well behind any street frontage.

The full significance and archaeological potential of the site only became apparent as a result of documentary and cartographic research undertaken following the discovery and excavation in 1982 of the 17th-century bell-foundry at Paul Street. The latter site was occupied between c1625 and 1720, although bell-casting may have taken place there only from about 1650.

The aim of the 1984 works was to systematically trench an area which had yielded casting waste in the earlier excavation to gauge its extent and obtain a rough estimate of the volume of the pits which would also give an indication of the total volume of production at the foundry over the 60 years or so of its existence.