More incredible discoveries dating back hundreds of years found underneath Northampton's Market Square
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Amazing artefacts dating back hundreds of years have been discovered underneath Northampton’s Market Square during £10m transformation works.
In September, archaeologists from the Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA) unearthed fragments of medieval shoes, textiles, pottery dating back to the 13th-14th century, animal bones, wood, and the remnants of various structures beneath Northampton Market Square.Then, it has been revealed this week, on October 26, MOLA made an incredible and exciting discovery whilst proceeding with the groundworks for the new pavement on the Market Square…
While working on the pavement surface close to the Grosvenor Centre, archaeologists uncovered an underground cellar at the site. This cellar is part of a larger network, according to MOLA.
The row of buildings, including the cellar, between Market Square and the Drapery, was likely built after the Great Fire of Northampton in 1675, possibly during the 18th and 19th centuries, say MOLA.
Additionally, several post-medieval sherds (a broken piece of ceramic material, especially one found on an archaeological site) were discovered during the excavation, offering valuable insights for dating purposes.
During the trench opening, a damaged block provided a rare glimpse into the cellar's interior, revealing that it was filled with concrete almost up to its ceiling, say MOLA.
Beyond the concrete layer, the only visible feature was a small fragment of a possible door frame leading into the Market Square building, say MOLA.
Fragments of textile material found on the opposite wall suggested relatively recent work, possibly dating back to the 1970s when parts of Market Square were redeveloped.
Councillor Daniel Lister, in charge of the Market Square refurbishment at WNC, expressed his amazement at the ongoing discoveries.
The councillor said: "It is incredible to see even more historical artefacts and structures being uncovered during the regeneration of the Market Square. MOLA continues to unearth and study Northampton’s rich and mysterious history, and we welcome any more discoveries they make."
Councillor Lister has also recently provided a latest update on the Market Square works ahead of a full council meeting this week.
He said in a report: “Works on the Market Square continue to progress at pace with the new paving now installed along part of the northern and eastern sections with work continuing in a clockwise fashion. Excavations and preparations in the central area have also been continuing with tree works and extensive ducting and housing for new electrical services taking place. Works for the water feature has commenced with the water holding tank being installed. The manufacture of the market stalls is now 50 per cent complete with these due to be finalised and delivered this winter with the lighting columns also due to be installed at a similar time.”
The refurbished Market Square is set to open in the summer of 2024 and will feature new permanent market stalls for traders, ‘high-quality’ seating and planting, a flexible event space, and a new water feature.
While the works are ongoing, market traders say they are ‘struggling’ to survive down at the temporary location in Commercial Street car park.