Phase 3: early to mid 11th century  
Bank or platform construction, east side of site Matrix Diagram

On the eastern side of the excavation area a massive amount of dumped material was laid down to raise the ground level.


Following the demolition of Building F at the end of Phase 2, dumped deposits, including (2598 and 26202621), were used to raise the ground level by up to 0.60m. Artefacts from these deposits were indicative of household refuse rather than manufacturing debris, although one fragment of copper alloy metalworking waste was recovered from dump 2620. An iron horseshoe (SF01259) was also recovered from deposit 2598. Environmental evidence appears to support this conclusion; the assemblage contained food and butchery waste, including several fragments of bone that were identified as barnacle goose. The latter shows that wild species were used to supplement the diet at this time. These deposits contained pottery dated to the late 10th or early 11th century, but nine sherds of splashed ware from one of the latest deposits in the stratigraphic sequence, 2598, may suggest that dumping continued into the second half of the 11th century. A fragment of flanged tile from context 2598 supports the 11th century date for the formation of these deposits.

To the north of the dumped deposits described above was a second series of dumps, including 3068, 30923093, 3167, 3172, 3178, 3186, 3214, 3216, 3810, 3823 and 3825. These were interpreted as part of the same ground-raising activities and were also dated by pottery to the late 10th or early 11th century. The exception was context 3092, which produced seven sherds of splashed ware, confirming that dumping continued into the second half of the 11th century. Occasional stake-holes were recorded within this sequence, but none of them formed a coherent structure or fence. They may have been inserted to reinforce the levelling material.

A linear ditch or gully (3480) was dug on the western side of the levelled area once the required height was reached. This may have extended further to the north, but was removed by later intrusions.

This massive build up of dumped material on the eastern side of the excavation area is difficult to explain. It is currently thought that it was deliberately dumped to create a building platform for a later timber building, Building H (see Phase 4). Another interpretation may tie it in with the creation of a defensive structure (bank and ditch) in the late Anglo-Scandinavian period, which is believed to have existed in the area (Hall 1994, 34). This, however, would require a second clearance operation before the construction of Building H in Phase 4. No evidence for substantial ground clearance was recorded during the excavation.

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South-east facing section in lift shaft pit

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X-ray of iron horseshoe (SF01259)

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Curved and flanged tile from 16–22 Coppergate

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10th and 11th century pottery
© Copyright York Archaeological Trust 2003