EYO26 - North St Flood defences




Location North St
Grid reference SE 6004 5181 (point)
Map sheet SE65SW
Unitary Authority City of York, North Yorkshire



York Archaeological Trust


May - 1992



York Archaeological Trust undertook the observation of a series of boreholes sunk to investigate the nature and depth of archaeological deposits in advance of a flood defence scheme at North Street, York (N.G.R. SE 60045182 and SE 60095178). The work was required by York City Council to allow appropriate archaeological conditions to be drafted for the main works. Two separate sets of boreholes were sunk, the first across the presumed line of the Roman road through York's colonia as it approaches the River Ouse, the second on the site of the proposed pumping station adjacent to the river lane north of the Viking Hotel. The site records and artefacts are currently lodged with York Archaeological Trust under the Trust and Yorkshire Museum accession code 1992.1. Roman road transect: Boreholes 1- 7 demonstrated that no deposits of archaeological significance will be disturbed by the excavation of a guide trench up to 2m deep in the area sampled to locate the position of the Roman road. It is also clear that steel sheets pushed into the ground from the base of this trench would cause minimal archaeological disturbance. It is possible that the area sampled is not representative of the entire length of flood defence and it is thus recommended that a watching brief be maintained over trench excavation with the possibility of recording any archaeologically sensitive deposits encountered. The Roman road was not located in any of the boreholes although they penetrated to an adequate depth and were on the predicted alignment from the nearby excavations at Wellington Row. This may suggest that at this point the road was already raised above Roman ground level on bridge piers to lessen the considerable difference in height between the west and east banks of the River Ouse. Pumping Station transect: The boreholes suggested that archaeological remains of considerable potential significance will be destroyed by the construction of a pumping station in the proposed location. A complete sequence of Roman deposits, some of which may have been deposited within a riverside structure, was sampled. These extended to great depth in borehole 15 where a thickness of up to 3.20m was recorded. Although not bottomed in boreholes 8 and 10 it is possible that Roman remains here are at a higher level than closer to the modern river. This difference could reflect the position of the Roman river bank. Above the Roman deposits were well preserved organic remains suggesting further development of the river bank during the Anglo-Scandinavian and medieval periods. No evidence of Anglian deposits was found but it is unusual to recognise these in boreholes. The organic deposits were sealed by a series of dumps of post- medieval and modern date extending up to the base of the modern garden soil. It is difficult to over-estimate the importance of this site to an understanding of the development of the west bank of the river Ouse from the beginnings of Roman settlement in York to the modern day. It is of particular significance for the Roman period when it would have been very close to the main road from Tadcaster as it crossed the river to enter the Roman fortress on the east bank. During the Anglo-Scandinavian period it would once again been at the heart of the commercial riverside and the possibility of continuity of use from Roman through Anglian into Anglo-Scandinavian times is particularly intriguing. The continuing development of the river bank through medieval and post-medieval periods would complete the total picture.

Sources/Archives (2)

  • --- Unpublished document: YAT. 1992. North Street Flood Defences.
  • --- Digital archive: NMR. 2019. NMR data.

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Child/subsequent Site Events/Activities (3)

  • North St Flood defences: Borehole 8 (Ref: 1992/1)
  • North St Flood defences: Borehole 10 (Ref: 1992/1)
  • North St Flood defences: Borehole 15 (Ref: 1992/1)

Record last edited

Sep 16 2021 3:48PM


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