A Roman well has been unearthed on a Chester development site that will soon house a new Travelodge hotel.
Just two weeks of digging at the archaeological excavation on the junction of Upper Northgate Street and Delamere Street has already exposed a rock-cut Roman well, several large quarries, with at least one dating back to Roman times, and the remains of a whole pig.
The quarries, once redundant, became a convenient place to dump rubbish, which may prove to be excellent news for the archaeologists as the source of a great deal of information about how people lived their lives in previous times.
Many fragments of Roman and later pottery have also been recovered and a whole pig appears to have been thrown into one of the post medieval quarries.
Cheshire West and Chester archaeologists arranged for students from the University of Chester’s Archaeology programme, who worked with them at Grosvenor Park in May, to visit the commercial archaeological excavation in the centre of Chester, which is being carried out by Earthworks Archaeology, funded by Rufus Estates and monitored by the council’s team.
Jane Hebblewhite, community archaeologist at the council said: “Visits to urban commercial excavations are not always possible due to access and time constraints. It is testimony to Earthworks’ and Rufus Estates’ understanding and flexibility to allow the students to come down on to site.
“Such a visit introduces the students to another element of field archaeology and gives them an excellent insight to the kind of challenges they might meet on an urban development.”
Leigh Dodd, site director for Earthworks Archaeology, took time to explain the archaeology to the students and the various issues that have to be considered when running a commercial archaeological excavation.
Leigh said: “The excavation means that the remains will be properly recorded before construction work starts. Once the excavation has been completed, the material from site will be analysed and dated and a full report will be produced.
“This project has been an excellent example of collaboration and cooperation between all parties involved in the development, and it has also given an opportunity to local archaeology students to gain a first-hand understanding of how archaeology works in the modern world.”
As the excavation continues for the next few weeks further exciting discoveries are anticipated. This new information will form an important contribution to the understanding of the development and history of this part of Chester.
Although the site is not accessible to the general public, the archaeological investigation can be viewed from the main footpath