King’s Square Dig: Behind the Scenes

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September 13th, 2013
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All images © Ben Bentley

Resurfacing works on Kings Square taking place as part of the Reinvigorate York program of civic improvements made local news headlines last week, as workers uncovered Victorian and Medieval church remains on the site more recently occupied by ice cream stalls and street performers, alongside innumerable tourists and pigeons.

As the dear old cobbles of the square were dug up to make way for the sleek new Reinvigorate York paving which has been elected as their replacement, evidence of sacred buildings which once stood here began to emerge.

The Victorian discoveries, whilst worthy of celebration nonetheless, come as no surprise – the existence of a church on this site is well documented, with the Nineteenth Century Holy Trinity Church having existed until the 1930s. You can still headstones in the raised part of the square.

It is the Medieval finds from an earlier church which represent the King’s Square site’s most significant finds; further treasures for York’s staggeringly rich historical archive.

John Oxley, City of York Council’s Archaeologist, commented: “The current resurfacing works have revealed the foundations of the Victorian and possibly the medieval church. On-Site Archaeology has been appointed by City of York Council to carry out an archaeological ‘watching brief’ on the resurfacing works.

“Over the next couple of weeks the archaeologists will clean and record the remains of the church and remove any burials that might be affected by the resurfacing works. This is very exciting as opportunities, however brief, to look at these vanished churches in York are very rare.”

One&Other were lucky enough to receive an invitation to see behind the barriers at the dig and witness for ourselves the delicate excavation work taking place at King’s Square. Here are some pictures taken on site by our resident photographer Ben Bentley:

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