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Medieval artefacts found under 900 year old rubbish dump in Newcastle


Medieval artefacts trapped in a waterlogged waste dump for 900 years have been found in Newcastle.

Medieval artefacts found under 900 year old rubbish dump in Newcastle
Newgate Street excavation at old shopping centre [Credit: ncj Media Ltd]
Archaeologists have uncovered green-glazed pottery, neatly cut animal horns, as well as a pit-like oven during excavations of a construction site.

A woven wooden fence and the boundaries of a home running parallel to the modern street were also discovered.

It is thought the objects, many of which have been preserved in a medieval rubbish dump known as a 'midden', date back to the 12th century.

Archaeologist Dr Richard Carlton from Tyneside firm The Archaeological Practice explained that the materials were so well preserved because the dump had been waterlogged.

Medieval artefacts found under 900 year old rubbish dump in Newcastle
Medieval pit-like oven unearthed during excavations of a construction site [Credit: ncj Media Ltd]
He said: 'There was about a metre [3.2 ft] depth of midden with organic material and filth, and you can imagine what sort of stuff you find.

'Within that was all sorts of interesting stuff like organic remains which reveal how people were living and what they were doing.

'Particularly interesting finds here were several examples of animal horn neatly cut, presumably for reuse as handles or another function.'

The site was described by Dr Carlton as 'one of the richest sites ever investigated in medieval Newcastle'.

Medieval artefacts found under 900 year old rubbish dump in Newcastle
A woven wood fence was found at the medieval site 
in Newcastle [Credit: ncj Media Ltd]
About 1.5 metres (5 ft) into the ground, remains of a wattle fence were found running parallel to the existing street.

A pit that was likely used as an oven was also found inside the boundaries of a building.

Dr Carlton said: 'Inside what we imagine to be within the house, we found a pit containing lots of layers of burnt deposits. This might be the base of an oven.'

It is thought the objects date back to the 12th or 13th century but some could be a thousand years old, researchers said.

Medieval artefacts found under 900 year old rubbish dump in Newcastle
The boundaries of a house running parallel to the modern street
were also uncovered [Credit: ncj Media Ltd]
Newcastle's Newgate Street are, where the artefacts were found, is one of the city's earliest thoroughfares.

It was known initially by the names of the various medieval markets held there.

The Horse Market, Nolt (cattle) Market and White Cross all formed part of a popular trade centre in the city.

The artefacts will be examined by specialists before being carbon dated to pinpoint the exact time period they are from.

After that they will be archived at the city's Great North Museum.

Medieval artefacts found under 900 year old rubbish dump in Newcastle
Carved horn and pottery found at Newgate Street excavation [Credit: ncj Media Ltd]
A spokesperson from building developers McAleer & Rushe said: 'Archaeologists working at McAleer & Rushe's Newgate Street site have found some artefacts including animal bone, leather, medieval green-glazed pottery and a pit-like feature filled with laminated deposits of burnt material.

'The pottery finds suggest that this site was in occupation during the 12th-14th centuries, with some of the pottery potentially being from an earlier date.'

Author: Harry Pettit | Source: Daily Mail [December 01, 2017]

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