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Archaeology dig on Northampton site of new council offices reveals medieval backyard

A number of medieval items have been found after an excavation on the site of the new Northamptonshire County Council headquarters

A number of medieval items have been found after an excavation on the site of the new Northamptonshire County Council headquarters

A medieval backyard including a stone-built bread oven has been excavated on the site of the county council’s new £43 million headquarters in Northampton town centre.

An excavation, carried out by representatives from the Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA) in Fetter Street, has revealed a number of items dating back to the 13th century.

As well as the bread oven, the archaeologists have also found a stone-lined well shaft, medieval pottery and animal bone and smaller items including a collection of bronze pins, from either a personal sewing kit or perhaps used by a seamstress, earning a living working from her home. There is also a finely-worked bone pin and a 15th-century trade token.

In the next stage of work it is possible that remains of the house will be found on the street along with more evidence of the trades and crafts by which they earned their living.

Andy Chapman, MOLA archaeologist, said: “Project Angel is providing a rare opportunity to look at the back streets of the medieval town, occupied by rows of small houses or cottages with backyard plots, and to explore the everyday lives of the average medieval Northamptonian.”

Excavation work on the 1,400sq m site in Northampton town centre is expected to continue until the end of August with work on the new county council headquarters due to begin in January 2015.

The scheme, dubbed Project Angel, will see the county council move all of its operations and 2,000 employees into the town centre.

A planning application was submitted to Northampton Borough Council in February.

 

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