Blackfriars, Worcester

Volunteers at Worcester City Museums have recently finished a project to repackage and  stabilise the small finds from the Blackfriars excavations in Worcester.

A number of trenches and two open areas were excavated on the Blackfriars site in 1985 and 1986 with the help of field staff recruited through the Manpower Services Commission. Funding was available for the excavation of the site, which was threatened at the time with imminent development, and nine months of post excavation analysis. Unfortunately this proved insufficient to complete the work and analyse the finds.

The site produced a range of exciting and important discoveries including a Roman road lined with timber buildings, a saxon timber building and bread ovens, the cloisters of the Dominican friary that was founded on the site by William Beauchamp in 1347, a probable civil war defensive bank and ditch constructed to defend the city against incoming gunfire from the direction of St Johns, eighteenth century tenements and nineteenth century domestic and commercial buildings. Of particular interest was the layout of the features which appeared to follow a similar orientation across the centuries such as the fourteenth century friary church and cloisters which appear to follow the orientation of the Roman road, in use over a thousand years before the priory was constructed.

It is now 25 years since the Blackfriars excavation began and much of the packaging that the small finds were wrapped, bagged and boxed in have failed or are unstable. Many hours of volunteer time have resulted in an archive of small finds that we hope are now as stable and well cared for as is possible so that research into this interesting and valuable site may be resumed one day.

Thanks go to Christine, Helen, Janet, Linda, Lucy, Patrick and Rob who have all spent many hours stabilising the Blackfriars small finds. For further information regarding the Blackfriars archives please contact Deborah Fox at museumcollections@worcestershire.gov.uk.

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