Another highlight of the York 800 programme began this week, with the start of the first-ever archaeological dig in the Guildhall yard, the basements of the Mansion House, Common Hall Lane and the south side of the Guildhall.
York Archaeological Trust will be on site from 30 July for six weeks. The dig will be open to the public at set times from 6-10 August as part of York’s Medieval Summer, when the public will be able to meet members of the Trust, meet the archaeologists, and see recent finds as they are documented. Pre-booking will be essential, on 09104 615505.
The hope is that finds will eventually be displayed in the Mansion House. Visitors will also be able to see the recent vertical survey and imaging of the Guildhall which was carried out by the Trust.
Councillor Sonja Crisp, City of York Council Cabinet member for Leisure, Culture and Tourism, said: “In this year of York 800, it seems very fitting that we can host a dig at the principal seat of local democracy in the city. I’m very excited at the prospects of what might be found on the site.”
The first Guildhall in York is mentioned in 1256 in a charter given to citizens by King Henry III. From 1378 onwards, there are historical references to a Guildhall standing on the present site.
The dig will aim to establish the dates of the basements of the Mansion House, land levels around the Guildhall and river frontages which could hold well preserved waterlogged deposits. There is the potential to detect structures that existed in the Guildhall yard and adjoining areas such as kitchens, a brew house, and stables, and to date evidence to establish the sequences in which the area developed.
Oneandother.tv were allowed exclusive access of “Beneath The Guildhall” earlier this year here.