To the west of a Phase 9 robbing trench (2139) two buildings, Buildings P and Q
underwent considerable modification. They are therefore renamed Buildings T and S respectively. To the
east of 2139, Building R remained structurally unchanged.
The western side of Building Q was dismantled and the ground levelled (2713).
The possible structures to the south of Building Q within the backyard area were also
dismantled and the resultant holes infilled. Building S
was then constructed. It was roughly square in plan and measured c.6.5m long and c.6m
wide. Its northern wall re-used boundary wall 4005 (see Phase 7), and its eastern wall
re-used the boundary wall that existed within the later Phase 9 robbing trench 2139.
It was more difficult to identify the southern and eastern walls. A single post-hole (1986)
was identified as part of the southern wall and two heavily truncated post-holes (2393 and 2461)
represented the western wall. It is possible therefore that these simply helped prop up the
respective walls of the building, the sill beams being placed directly on the existing
ground surface (as in Phase 7).
Internally a number of post- and stake-holes were inserted during the construction phase
including (2376, 2396 and 33943397),
perhaps as part of an internal scaffold. These were
subsequently removed, backfilled and sealed by levelling deposits.
A north-east to south-west internal partition wall consisting of limestone post-pads
(3831 and 3832), and stake-hole clusters
33833393), which probably supported
further post-pads, was inserted within Building S. This partition divided Building S
into two rooms, the eastern room being 2.3m and the western 3.7m wide.
A central hearth (2274) was constructed
within the western room and occupation deposits built up around it. These deposits
contained 14th century pottery and also
an English coin (SF00866) which dates from the 1290s.
They also contained artefacts
including an iron key attached to a copper alloy chain (SF00865), a bone pin beater
(SF01000) for use with a loom, and a pair of stone spindle whorls (SF01014).
These suggest that Building S was used as a domestic structure with textile manufacture
as a craft activity. One of the floors was sampled for
environmental analysis. The deposit suggested that conditions within the building were
unhygienic, with straw flooring material mixed with food waste and dog faeces. The animal bone
assemblage suggests that fish (including herring, haddock, whiting, flat fish and eel),
cattle, sheep/goat and pig were all eaten.
A second hearth (not shown on the plan) was then inserted in an alteration
to the western room, to the north of central hearth 2274. It contained a copper alloy
annular brooch (SF00999) dating from the 13th or 14th century. This hearth went out of
use rapidly and was sealed by a spread of charcoal. The charcoal covered almost the
entire floor area of the western room and was interpreted as a purifying layer. A
levelling deposit of tiles and crushed
mould fragments was laid down at its south end.
The subsequent alterations to Building S could be phased either here or as part of
Phase 9.1. Two rough rubble post-pads were added to the internal partition wall,
suggesting it was rebuilt at this
point. Within the western room further alterations
were made. Levelling deposits including 17591760
(see Plan 9.1) were
laid down before further occupation deposits including 2037 (see Plan 9.1) built up. A shallow
depression of unknown function truncated 1760, and was backfilled. On top of this,
another hearth (1755 and 1771, see Plan 9.1) was built at the centre of the western
room. A small patch of burnt clay and tiles (1758, see Plan 9.1) to the north may be
interpreted as a setting for hot objects, and a second rubble setting to the south may
have been inserted to support a post-pad.
The eastern room contained little in the way of occupation deposits,
suggesting that it was used as a storage area. The whole of the
interior of Building S was then re-arranged.
The partition wall was removed and a series of levelling deposits including 1873,
1977, 1985, 2115 and
40164017 (see Plan 9.1) was laid down. One of the deposits contained a
copper alloy book clasp (SF01038), as well as a fragment of unfinished copper alloy cast
vessel (SF01112). A possible large hone, made from metamorphic rock, and a
chamfered architectural fragment were also
recovered. Layers of crushed mould fragments from the manufacture of copper alloy vessels
(2005 and 2394, see Plan 9.1) were then used to even off the floor within the eastern
portion of Building S. These industrial deposits, which were probably brought in from
close by (see the metalworking report), contained pottery of the 15th century.
On the eastern side of the building a new post-pad (3830, see Plan 9.1) was inserted. As
the only remaining post-pad, 3832 was positioned to the north-west of 3830, it is difficult
to know how these two internal post-pads functioned structurally within the building. A
post-hole (1716, see Plan 9.1) may also have been inserted in the western room. Building
S may have been falling into disrepair by the end of the 14th century and these post-pad and
post-hole additions may have been an attempt to shore the building up. The building may
have been used for storage or some industrial process rather than for domestic purposes. On the
southern side of Building S two further post-holes (1847
and 1849, see Plan 9.1)
were inserted through the levelling deposits. These may have been an attempt to rebuild
the back wall or to prop it.
Building P from Phase 7 was shortened when Building S was constructed. In Phase 8 it measured c.4.5m
x 4.5m and was renamed Building T.
The northern wall of the
building was altered and a slot (4059) was inserted, within which a length of
limestone walling was built. This was interpreted as either a repair or the deliberate
blocking of a doorway. Directly above this was a levelling deposit (4057, see Plan 9.1)
for a short section of brick wall (4056, see Plan 9.1). No occupation deposits were
located within Building T; the flooring may have been removed before the construction
of the later Building U (see Phase 9.1).
Within Building R, a series of structural
alterations were made to the Walmgate frontage wall. These included cobbles (4023),
which may have supported a short length of wall or door sill, and a post-hole (4022) for
a major timber upright in the north-western corner of the building.
The subsequent alterations to Building R could equally be assigned to Phase 9.1. At
the southern end of Building R a cluster of levelling deposits including 2070, 2107,
2145 and 2163 were laid down to deal with subsidence in
this part of the building. These
deposits contained 15th century pottery and also demolition materials (including
a tile with a dog paw print) and
mould fragments from the casting of copper alloy vessels. Post- and stake-holes (2043,
20492052) were inserted after the levelling activity.
These may represent piling for a post-pad. In the northern half of Building R a large
number of post- and stake-holes (including 2098, 2125,
2141, 2162, 22962300,
2562), levelling and dump deposits (including 2557, see Plan 9.1), a post-pad and
a possible beam slot (1850) were inserted. These may represent multiple attempts at
internal partitioning and levelling within the northern room of Building R.
In the backyard area to the south of
Buildings S and T, a new piled hole to support a post-pad (1820) was inserted. The
post-pad would have supported a timber upright or part of a sill beam for a timber-framed
structure behind Building S. Post-holes 1894 and 1889 identified in Phase 7 may relate
to this post-pad rather than to the earlier structure. A cobbled spread (1807) was
laid down to the west of the structure, perhaps as a path or as a levelling spread.
The timber structure was then dismantled (possibly in Phase 9.1) and several
levelling deposits including 18051806 (see Plan 9.1)
were laid down. These contained
iron smithing waste (SF01024) which indicates that smithing was undertaken close by,
as well as a bone identified as crane. The hunting and consumption of this bird in the
later medieval period is considered to be an important symbol of wealth and status
(Dobney and Jaques in press). This may suggest a degree of affluence
for the inhabitants of this part of Walmgate at this time.
On the western side of the backyard area a series of rubbish pits were dug (including
2935, 35493550, 3553
and 3560). To the east a bath-shaped pit (2886), aligned north-west
to south-east, was dug and lined with timber. A stake-built structure (a tight cluster of
stake-holes including 2991 and 3042) was built to the east, possibly to
support an associated sluice. The possible sluice support rapidly went out of use and
was sealed by dumps including 2954, which contained a horn core. This may suggest
an industrial function, such as horn working, for the pit. A second pit (3022) of
similar shape and alignment to 2886 was located to the north. Both pits were
subsequently infilled, deposits from pit 2886 containing some iron smithing waste
(SF01551 and SF01546). One of the contexts was environmentally sampled; it
consisted mostly of human faeces and may indicate a secondary use of the pits as latrines.
A series of dumps including 2809, 2851 and 2918 then sealed the backyard area.
These contained domestic and demolition waste as well as pottery dating to the
14th century. Some of the animal bone had been butchered and also gnawed by dogs.
A considerable amount of metalworking waste was also recovered from these deposits,
including an iron smithing punch.
To the south of pit 2886 a further shallow pit (2288) was dug. This was backfilled
with rubbish including metalworking debris (SF01250). A second pair of bath-shaped
pits (1692 and 2675) aligned north-east to south-west, as was 2288,
then truncated the backyard deposits.
These both contained timber linings, use deposits and backfills, similar in character
to pit 2886. One of the use deposits was environmentally sampled, and was made up
mostly of stable manure with a component of human food waste. Both pits may have been
used for a similar industrial process to the earlier bath-shaped pit, being later
infilled with manure and cess. The pit backfill also revealed that wool was being cleaned
or processed close by, and further evidence for high-status food waste including crane and
a ling over 1m in length. The latter was interpreted as stored or stock fish which
would have been dried, salted or smoked.
Three intercutting pits (2626, 2709 and 2739)
were located at the southern edge of
the excavation area. The two earliest pits were dug for the disposal of domestic
rubbish whereas the most recent, 2626, was backfilled with concreted lumps of sand,
perhaps associated with casting, as well as food waste including fallow deer. Venison is
considered an indicator of affluence. A number of post-holes
(2017, 2752, 2785,
2788, 2850, 2952, 3019
and 3053) were inserted within the backyard area but do not
appear to form any coherent structure or fence line.
To the south of Building R, a large pit
(2318) with an associated gully (2415) was dug. This
contained an industrial use deposit
or lining identified as smithing slag (SF01445 and SF01453), which suggests that iron
smithing was undertaken close by. The pit was later infilled and contained pottery dated
to the late 14th or early 15th century. Some of the fill may have derived from the
demolition of a nearby metalworking furnace. A sequence of stake- and post-holes
(including 2305, 2356,
2365, 2367 and 33763377)
of unknown function were then
inserted and several levelling deposits laid down.
The environmental evidence for this phase shows the broadest range of diet in any phase
so far considered. This included sheep or goat, cow, pig, fallow deer, chicken, goose,
crane, fish (cod, ling, haddock, herring, whiting, flat fish and eel), crab, shellfish,
wheat and rye bran, fig, apple and blackberry. Although conditions within the buildings were not particularly
hygienic, the inhabitants appear to have had a varied and interesting diet.
Building S under excavation
Coin (SF00866) dating to the 1290s
Key and chain (SF00865)
Spindle whorls and pin beater used in textile working (SF01000 and SF01014)
Book clasp (SF01038)
Tile with paw print impressions
Ling © Jón Baldur Hlíðberg (www.fauna.is)