YORK is a city of the ages. Beneath our feet, as we walk about the streets, is layer upon layer of history. It stretches back in time, through the Victorians and Georgians to the medieval Merchant Adventurers, Richard III, the Norman conquest, the Vikings, the Saxons, the Romans, and even beyond.

Occasionally, when there is a major development planned in the city centre, archaeologists get to uncover part of this history, digging down beneath the surface before the developers move in. That's how, in the 1970s, archaeologists discovered so much about Viking York during the Coppergate dig. There have been countless smaller digs, revealing everything from the remains of what are thought to have been Roman gladiators to details of the lives of medieval monks and the slum conditions of Victorian Hungate.

Each dig adds just one small piece to the jigsaw puzzle that is the story of York's past. But put them all together, and there is probably more known about the history of this ancient city than about almost any other city in England, apart from London.

The results of decades of archaeological research and discovery in York were expertly brought together in the magnificent Historical Atlas of York (more correctly the British Historic Towns Atlas Volume V: York), published in 2015 and edited by Dr Peter Addyman, the first director of the York Archaeological Trust and the man who was one of the driving forces behind the original Jorvik Viking Museum.

The Atlas combines detailed, beautiful maps showing what York was like at various stages of its history from Roman times onwards with scholarly essays about each period written by leading experts in the field. For anyone interested in really getting to grips with York's past, it is a must.

We can't hope to approach that level of expertise and authority in The Press. But what we do have are lots of great photos taken down the years, showing archaeologists going about their business of uncovering York's hidden past.

The York Archaeological Trust is planning another major public dig next summer to look for the Roman civilian city that once existed beneath what today is Rougier Street. It is hoping many York people will turn amateur archaeologists to help it in that search.

So to get you in the mood, here is a selection of our archive photos of archaeologists at work. Enjoy...

1. December 1988 - Archaeologists at the Queen's Hotel site on the corner of Micklegate and Skeldergate. It was hoped the site could hold York's Roman forum, but developers were allowed to continued on site before archaeologists could do more digging

2. August 1989 - A second photograph of archaeologists at the Queen's Hotel site on the corner of Micklegate and Skeldergate

3. 10 August 1983 - York Archaeological Trust, working in Skeldergate, finds evidence that the River the Ouse was once much wider than it is today. Medieval river walls were found, showing the river edge was pushed inwards

4. Archaeologists search for Viking remains in Skeldergate. Date uncertain, but possibly 1983

5. September 5, 1974 - Archaeologists find the remains of an 11th century Saxon timber house during the 1974 dig at Bishophill car park. This is believed to have been the first Saxon house found in York

6. 1978 - York Archaeological Trust excavating in Walmgate, with Bowes Morrell House behind

7. February 1979 - workmen in the medieval lane below Guildhall known as Common Hall Lane. The lane actually predates the Guildhall itself - it may have been roofed over when the Guildhall was being built in the mid 1400s. It is thought to follow the route along which the Romans brought stone up from the Ouse to build the Roman fortress - and, later, the route along which medieval builders carted stone from the river up to Stonegate to build the Minster.

Stephen Lewis