EYO828 - Victorian Sewer Micklegate


Event - Intervention


Grid reference SE 5974 5144 (point)
Map sheet SE55SE
Unitary Authority City of York, North Yorkshire



Northern Archaeological Associates Ltd


Aug - 2005



Watching Brief In August 2005 Northern Archaeological Associates were commissioned by Costain on behalf of Yorkshire Water to undertake an archaeological watching brief during sewer repair works to the tunnelled Victorian sewer that runs below Micklegate Bar, in the City of York. Two trenches were excavated through previously undisturbed archaeological deposits, comprising road surfaces and road levelling layers, relating to this historic principal route-way into the city of York The results from both Trench 1 and Trench 2 showed a clear stratified sequence of deposits and road surfaces from the Roman though to the post-medieval periods. At a depth of 4.5m the tubular brick sewer was encountered overlain by some 2.5m of sand and gravel. The earliest identified deposits related to construction of a Roman road comprising a foundation layer of large cobbles, overlain by a compacted metalled surface layer of gravel in a red clay matrix. The identification of the main south-westerly road to Calcaria (Tadcaster) in this location, just outside the defences for the Colonia at Eboracum, supports the notion of the medieval Micklegate Bar being founded upon the site of the earlier Roman gateway in the defences. A single Roman 'antoninianus ' coin from the period of the Gallic Empire (AD 259-73), a fragment of tegula and a sherd of greyware were recovered from residual medieval and modern contexts. The Roman occupation layers were overlain a humic deposit, containing preserved organic material likely to have derived from an out-door dung heap or from flood debris. This deposit contained six seeds from the japanese-lantern plant (Physalis A lkegenki L ), the earliest archaeological record of this species in northern England. Later medieval and post-medieval cobbled and metalled road surfaces were also recorded, some with the addition of waste industrial material for added durability. Several bricks and tiles were recovered, one with the paw print from a small dog on its surface, mostly from within later medieval and post-medieval road suifaces and levelling layers. Documentary evidence records that the tunnelled sewer was probably constructed below Micklegate during extensive sanitation works that took place across the city on the 1890s. The brickbuilt sewer was seen to have been routed southwest beneath an archway cut through the defences to the north of Micklegate Bai; heading out toward the middle of Blossom Street.

Sources/Archives (1)

  • --- Unpublished document: NAA. 2003. Victorian Sewer.

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Child/subsequent Site Events/Activities (2)

  • Victorian Sewer Micklegate: Trench 1 (Ref: NAA/07/18)
  • Victorian Sewer Micklegate: Trench 2 (Ref: NAA/07/18)

Record last edited

Feb 28 2014 3:49PM


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