Roman remains found buried at infirmary site
A MEDIAEVAL skeleton, a human tooth and hoardes of Roman pottery have been found buried under modern-day Worcester.
Archaeologists excavating the former Worcester Royal Infirmary site, in Castle Street, have unearthed more than 1,700 years of history.
Beneath the five-acre site, which is being transformed into the University of Worcester’s new city campus, they found evidence of a busy, noisy, dirty Roman district.
As well as two Roman buildings and large pits used for disposing rubbish, they found proof of metal-working and huge amounts of pottery, some of which proves the people of Roman Worcester had trading links with Roman France.
There is a mysterious circular ditch, 13m in diameter and dating to the third century AD, which has baffled archaeologists.
They also found the partial remains of a late mediaeval burial – although no one knows why a person would be buried on the site – and the entrance to a tunnel which once connected the hospital to the old Castle Street Gaol.
Death masks were allegedly recovered from the tunnel during the 1950s.
Although the entrance is now bricked up and the tunnel filled with rubble, the brick vaulted roof was found intact. Eerily, one of the first items to be found in the rubble was a human tooth.
“There have been some really exciting finds during this study and the university is keen to ensure the history of this important part of the city is fully recorded,” said Mark Evans, from the University of Worcester’s city campus project team.
“The investigations currently under way will allow present and future generations with an interest in the archaeology and history of Worcester to understand more of the city’s past.”
Elsewhere on the site, buildings demonstrate architectural innovation including a very early air ventilation system.
When the builders dismantled the former nurses’ homes, dating back to 1930, they found stacks of postcards, polling cards, letters and invitations, which had fallen behind a fireplace mantelpiece and been forgotten.
Many, from the late 1940s and early 50s, give a tangible sense of relief following the Second World War.
The infirmary itself, built between 1768 and 1770, is also being recorded and analysed.
Display boards detailing the exciting finds will be placed at the site soon. There will also be a series of public events giving people a first hand glimpse into the site’s history.