IN a column in this newspaper on Monday, York Civic Trust chief executive Andrew Morrison argued that archaeology is York’s ‘forgotten’ industry.

It may never have been an employer or wealth creator quite on the scale of chocolate or the railways.

But over the last 50 years, Mr Morrison argued, it has created thousands of jobs in York - and added millions of pounds to the city’s economy.

Workmen employed as labourers have been unearthing bits of York’s ancient past since the city’s grand Georgian buildings and Victorian architecture began to be developed in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

But what Mr Morrison called York’s ‘Archaeological Industrial Revolution’ really began in the 1970s, when when the Craven factory moved out of town.

York Press:

December 1975: The former Craven factory in Coppergate which, it was said, was 'believed to stand on the site of a Viking settlement'

The old factory in Coppergate and many surrounding buildings were in a poor condition, and were demolished - creating an opportunity for a major redevelopment of a key area of the city centre.

Before that could happen, however, archaeologists moved in to survey the site. They could scarcely believe what they were finding. A major dig - known to York people as the Coppergate dig - began, York went Viking-mad ...and the rest is history.

York Press:

The Coppergate dig

In many ways that decade of discovery about York’s past marked a turning point in the way the city viewed itself - and it is since then that archaeology has become really big businesses for York.

We’ve trawled through our archives to find some images to illustrate the birth of York’s ‘Archaeological Industrial Revolution’.

They range from the old Craven factory itself, to the Coppergate dig, the building of the new Coppergate centre - and, of course, Jorvik.

York Press:

Prince Charles with Dr Peter Addyman at the opening of Jorvik in 1984