HUNGATE, EVIDENCE FROM AN EXCAVATION AT
THE SITE OF THE FORMER HENLYS GARAGE, STONEBOW, YORK

Principal Author: Rhona Finlayson



Facing north-west, towards the site,
part of Hungate in the 1900s

Twisted copper alloy wires
from medieval surfaces of Hungate

Russell's Garage occupying the
development site on Stonebow, c.1952

This web publication covers the main results and analysis of an excavation carried out by York Archaeological Trust which took place in 2004 on the site of the former garage and car showroom, Henlys (formerly Russell's), adjacent to The Stonebow, York (NGR : SE60625185) (Site Location). The excavation revealed that archaeological deposits survived from c.0.20m below the modern ground surface and represented a significant sequence of structures and occupation on the site dating from the from the medieval period to the 20th century. Residual pottery and artefacts within this sequence indicate the presence of Anglo-Scandinavian and Roman deposits on the site, although excavation did not reach to these earlier levels. Good organic preservation was found from a depth of c.9m AOD, although the upper levels did not have similarly good preservation conditions.

Good evidence for medieval copper alloy wire-working, including dress accessories and chain mail, was recovered from the site. Finds relating to this activity were found concentrated within the road surfaces of Hungate, possibly indicating that the debris from this craft was swept out of buildings nearby onto the road. The finds were in such a concentration as to be strongly suggestive of a wire-working workshop close by. Copper alloy working has also been found to the north and south of this site in St Andrewgate (YORYM 1995.89) and Walmgate (YORYM 1999.941). To a lesser degree evidence of leather-, lead- and horn-working was also found.

Road surfaces representing the medieval line of Hungate were recorded together with a sequence of medieval structures lying to the north and south of the road. Some of these structures may have been associated with the Carmelite Friary known to be sited in the area. Later deposits found represented the remains of post-medieval and 18th to 19th-century buildings lying to the south of Hungate. Alluvial deposits and dumped material within organic silts were found post-dating the medieval road surfaces and indicate that the site was subject to flooding in the later medieval and post-medieval period. Post-medieval road surfaces of Hungate were not seen, although the remains of the 20th-century surface of Hungate formed by bitumen-bonded granite setts were revealed.

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