Excavations at Lower Combe Street, Exeter 1989 (Exeter archive site 97)

Exeter City Council, Cotswold Archaeology, 2015

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Exeter City Council, Cotswold Archaeology (2015) Excavations at Lower Combe Street, Exeter 1989 (Exeter archive site 97) [data-set]. York: Archaeology Data Service [distributor] https://doi.org/10.5284/1035234

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Excavations at Lower Combe Street, Exeter 1989 (Exeter archive site 97)

Excavations undertaken by the Exeter Museums Archaeological Field Unit in advance of the construction of a multi-storey car park at Lower Coombe Street were completed at the end of March 1990.

The site lies on the inside of the City Wall in the area bounded by Western Way, Lower Coombe Street and Quay Hill. The ground here falls away steeply from the City Wall towards Lower Coombe Street, which runs along the bottom of the Coombe valley. The combe contains more than 1.5 metres of post-glacial alluvium which is overlain in turn by Roman and later deposits up to 3 metres deep.

The earliest remains found on the site formed part of a large Roman military compound occupied at the same period of the legionary fortress which lay about 110 metres to the north-west on the other side of the Coombe valley.

In the late Saxon and early Norman town, this area was again peripheral to the main settlement zone. A widespread deposit of colluvium up to 1 metre deep contained considerable amounts of 10th/11th century pottery and appears to have been cultivated as ridge and furrow. Two pits provided the only hint of habitation in this area in the 11th-12th century.

One of the Coombe Street tenements was the site of a brickworks in the late 17th century. The natural alluvium in the valley was exploited for brick-making, and the bricks were fired in clamp kilns at the rear of the property.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, the backs of the Coombe Street tenements gradually came to be built up with a maze of small courts and cottages.

This information was taken from the 15 June 1990 Exeter Archaeology Advisory Committee report. This report can be accessed via the 'Metadata' page.