THE final results of decades of work on the Viking town discovered beneath Coppergate will be revealed today when a book chronicling the research is launched, two years after the driving force behind the research died aged just 62.
The book - called "Anglo-Scandinavian Occupation at 16-22 Coppergate: Defining a Townscape" - has been published after years of painstaking work by the late Dr Richard Hall, who directed the research until his death in 2011; his wife and colleague Dr Ailsa Mainman; and a team of archaeologists.
Dr Mainman said: "Richard was passionately interested in the Viking Age and devoted a large part of his career to understanding this site. It was very important to him that this work was completed, and we had to see that it was done.
"With the help of Trust field officers David Evans and Kurt Hunter-Mann and a number of other specialists this has now been accomplished."
The Viking dig in Coppergate between 1976 and 1981 drew over one million visitors, and its popularity led to the creation of the JORVIK Viking Centre, which has since welcomed over 17 million visitors through its doors.
Dr Hall directed that dig and the research that followed until his death two decades later, when he left a three quarter finished version of the text with lots of notes to follow up - which then became like a jigsaw puzzle for his colleagues to put together to complete the book.
The Coppergate site covered 2.02 ha, with archaeological deposits up to five metres spanning 2000 years of York’s history. In total, 40,000 individual archaeological deposits from Roman to late medieval in date were found, including the best preserved buildings in the Viking world.
Last month the University of York held a memorial conference for Dr Hall which drew speakers from across the Viking world - some of them forged their careers on material recovered from the Coppergate excavations.
Dr Mainman added: “We hope that Richard’s legacy in this latest, and final, Coppergate research report will be to enthuse the next generation to learn more about York’s Viking past."
The book is available from York Archaeological Trust online through at www.yorkarchaeology.co.uk/resources/pubs.htm