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News: Archaeological dig sheds new light on York’s Viking heritage

Archaeological dig sheds new light on York’s Viking heritage
Mohit Joshi
Fri, 10/10/2008

London, Oct 10: A team of archaeologists, through excavations in York, UK, has uncovered the remains of a Viking settlement, which provides a clearer picture of how far the city sprawled during the Viking era.

It has long been acknowledged that York is an archaeological gold mine, but the true scale of the city’s long history still remains buried underfoot.

According to the Yorkshire Post, a thousand years ago York ranked among the 10 biggest settlements in Western Europe, but archaeologists have now found the remains of a Viking settlement at the Hungate dig close to banks of the River Foss.

The timber-lined cellar of a two-storey Viking age structure was unearthed more than 10ft below the current street level at Hungate last week, and it is thought the building dates from the mid to late 10th century.

While its exact use is still not known, the York Archaeological Trust’s experts think the building could have been used as a workshop or for storing food and other perishable items.

However, shards of pottery, discarded animal bones, a comb and an amber bead dating from the Viking era have all been found buried in the soil in the building’s cellar, indicating that it could well have been a domestic dwelling.

The discovery is less than a mile from the remains of similar buildings found during the world-famous Coppergate dig 30 years ago, providing further clues as to the true size of the Viking town of Jorvik.

One of the most intriguing aspects of the find is that timber from a ship has been used in the building’s construction – the first discovery of its kind in York.

The recycled timber provides further proof as to how valuable wood was during the Viking era as it has been re-used in the building and has thrown up clues that Jorvik was an important trade centre, with boats arriving on the nearby River Foss.

“For any archaeologists, this is a hugely exciting find. We are extremely privileged to be working on a dig like this, but we could only hope to find something as significant as this building,” the Hungate excavation’s project director Peter Connelly said.

“We now have definitive proof that people from the Anglo-Scandinavian period built settlements on this site, and this gives us more evidence that Jorvik was far bigger than many people thought,” he added.

“We knew that it was a large town of real significance and it was probably the biggest settlement in the north of England at the time, but now we have more vital evidence,” he further added.

Source: Top News