ARCHAEOLOGISTS have discovered some tantalising glimpses of a long-lost York at the site of the ongoing Queen Street Bridge demolition – including the remains of a long-lost brick pavement, and evidence that the area was once a medieval rubbish dump.

They haven’t found any more Roman skeletons so far, even though it is known that there was once a Roman cemetery at the site.

But with excavations set to resume in the near future once the bridge has been demolished this weekend, they aren’t ruling anything out.

Experts from York Archaeology – formerly known as the York Archaeological Trust – excavated the area in front of the railway station where a temporary new road has now been built.

York Press: A section of lost brick pavement uncovered by archaeologists at York's Queen StreetA section of lost brick pavement uncovered by archaeologists at York's Queen Street (Image: York Archaeology)

It’s an area of the city that has been buried for about 150 years - and they say their efforts have yielded some ‘fascinating’ archaeology.

Among the discoveries was a large area of pavement made from ‘scoria’ bricks – bricks made from blast furnace slag from the industrial North.


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They believe this pavement would once have lined the approaches to the station.

Archaeologists have also found evidence that this area outside the city walls may well have been used as a rubbish dump in medieval times.

York Press: The Queen Street Bridge site where archaeologists have been workingThe Queen Street Bridge site where archaeologists have been working (Image: York Archaeology)

“This is an area that has been substantially disturbed by building works during the Victorian era,” said York Archaeology project manager Mary-Anne Slater.

“Beneath the flags, we have found drainage ditches from the 19th century, and below them, evidence of large medieval ditches containing broken green glaze pottery and animal bones dating back to the 13th and 14th centuries.

“This area outside the city walls was agricultural land during the medieval period, and the ditches may have been used for dumping rubbish from the medieval city.”

York Press: Broken pottery uncovered at the Queen Street Bridge siteBroken pottery uncovered at the Queen Street Bridge site (Image: YORK ARCHAEOLOGY)

Although it is known that a Roman cemetery existed on this site, and some disturbed bone was recovered in part of the trench, probably lifted from lower levels by ploughing, archaeologists say are yet to excavate any Roman skeletons comparable with those found previously at York Station.

But the archaeological investigations set to continue in the area below the Queen Street bridge site once the bridge itself has been removed - and before the new permanent road is installed – there may yet be more finds to come.

Pete Kilbane, City of York Council’s executive member for transport and deputy leader, said that given York’s 2,000 years of continuous habitation, the chance to unearth traces of the city’s past was something that had to be factored into any major project such as that at Queen Street.

York Press: The site at Queen Street where archaeologists have been at workThe site at Queen Street where archaeologists have been at work (Image: York Archaeology)

“We liaise closely with York Archaeology to protect any discoveries while managing disruption and allowing the works to progress,” he said.

“From previous work in the York Station area we know that there is a high possibility of Roman burials being present.

“York Archaeology is on site monitoring the work to ensure that any archaeological deposits are excavated and recorded before works progress.”