Archaeologists have uncovered numerous pieces of evidence of Gloucester’s rich historical past. According to Gloucestershire Live, they have discovered remains from several periods of Gloucester’s history, including a Roman road and wall, an 18th century crypt, and possibly even a long-buried medieval church.
The Roman remains, discovered beneath the site of the University of Gloucestershire’s new City Campus building, date back to the late AD40s, when Roman activity in the city began.
Cotswold Archaeology was commissioned by the University to do the archaeological evaluation at the former Debenhams building, which the university plans to transform into a new center for teaching, learning, and community partnerships.
Archaeologists discovered traces of Roman pottery from the 2nd century and the footings of a Roman wall, most likely from a townhouse, barely below floor level in the basement of the structure – the former Debenhams menswear department.
Scientists also discovered a cobbled stone surface in the same location that they believe is part of a Roman road from the 2nd to 4th century, as well as a large quantity of Roman roof tiles that may have been utilized in the road’s construction.
Following construction in what was Debenhams’ delivery area, they unearthed pillars that they believe were from the nave of the now-demolished St Aldate’s Church, which was built in the 18th century.
Other discoveries included fragments of a 16th-century tobacco pipe and pieces of a post-Medieval wine bottle.
Within a service yard area at the site, brick-built burial vaults and a crypt associated with the now-demolished St Aldate’s Church were discovered. This church replaced an earlier medieval church with its own churchyard, the remains of which are likely to lie beneath.
“Our City Campus development will be another exciting chapter in the rich history of the site, bringing new jobs and investment into a revitalised city center,” said Nigel Wichall, the university’s Director of Estates.
“We are working with our project partners to ensure that the archaeological remains are left undisturbed as much as possible when the development goes forward.”
“It is everyone’s priority to ensure that the burials in the former church are left in place, if possible, and are treated with respect at all times.”
“The fact that these remains survive so well, despite being built on,” said Gloucester City Council archaeologist Andrew Armstrong.
“We’re looking forwarding to working with University of Gloucestershire to ensure that these remains are protected when possible and carefully excavated if they have to be removed. We’ll keep the people of Gloucester informed as any works progress.”
“Our recent work at the City Campus has offered a further, extremely informative insight into the rich and diverse archaeology that survives beneath our feet in the city of Gloucester,” said Steve Sheldon, project manager for Cotswold Archaeology.
“It also adds to our understanding of the city’s more recent past, which the current exciting development will undoubtedly become a part of in due course.” —Gloucestershire Live