A plate commemorating Queen Victoria’s wedding was among discoveries made by archaeologists at a site in Northampton town centre.
Historians moved onto the St John’s car park site, near the Derngate theatre, to see what was underground before construction work began on The University of Northampton’s new halls of residence.
As well as a number of animal bones and pieces of pottery, they found a plate with a picture of Queen Victoria painted on it, along with the words “Queen Victoria married February 10th 1840”.
Roland Smith, from Cotswold Archaeology, said: “We found some broken pottery and also some food remains, such as animal bones and burnt plant remains.
“Unfortunately more delicate materials, such as textiles, leather and wooden objects, have not survived.”
The site was once within the grounds of the Hospital of St John, which was founded by William St Clere, the Archdeacon of Northampton in 1139.
In 1871,the site was sold to the Bedford and Northampton Railway Company so that St John’s Station could be built. The station closed in 1939. Looking further back into the site’s history, Mr Smith said: “The site lies within the defences of medieval Northampton, which was a very important town within the region at that time.
“All information that increases our understanding of medieval Northampton is of interest and importance as less than 10 per cent of the medieval town has previously been investigated. The specific site at St John’s wasn’t densely populated in the medieval period, but we discovered several rubbish pits for disposing of general waste.”
David Coleman, from Kier Construction, said the number of archaeological finds made at the site meant excavations had taken longer than expected.
But he said the extra digs would not delay the construction of the student flats.