A0509 22 Piccadilly (ABC Cinema)


A0509 22 Piccadilly (ABC Cinema)
Alternative Title
1987.21 22 Piccadilly (ABC Cinema)
1987.21 ABC Cinema, Piccadilly
The excavations through deeply stratified waterlogged deposits provided evidence of the course of the River Foss from Roman to the medieval period. Four trenches were excavated, one of these trenches, trench four, was found to have been located within course of the River Foss prior to its canalisation after 1793. In another, (trench 3), a steeply sloping bank of natural sandy clay, which was likely to have been a part of the riverbank was found. The other two trenches, 1 and 2 were located to the west of this bank and demonstrated intensive occupation of the area from the first century through to the 16th century; later deposits had been truncated by the foundation of the ABC Cinema. The excavation lay to the south-east of the tenements excavated on Copergate, in an area between them and the river Foss. Many of the deposits were dumped and build-up material which contained domestic and industrial waste providing important information about craft activities, the utilisation of resources, diet and living conditions.

The Roman deposition comprised a ditch aligned at right angles to the modern day River Foss cutting natural sandy clays. It is likely that it provided a means of drainage into the river. Neglect of the drainage appears to have occurred as the cut became silted up and filled with material similar to the subsequent build-up and dumped material which was likely to have been secondary rubbish dumping dating to c280.

The sequence of activity over the period 9th-12th century indicates a series of attempts to make the area close to the Foss usable. The deposition signals periods when the area was usable by man, with evidence of riverside structures and revetments being recovered, interspersed by periods when the area declined in use. The earliest timber fence on the site ran parallel to the River. A dump and build-up of material sealed this structure and pottery recovered from it dated to the Anglian period. Occupation and use of the site became more intensive in the Anglo-Scandinavian and medieval periods. Material built up through river flood deposition, by organic build-up from the decay of vegetation, possibly when the area was very waterlogged, and by the dumping of domestic and industrial waste material. Particular evidence was found of the glass industry, small pelt preparation, horn and antler working, and butchery on a commercial as well as a domestic scale. A wooden knife handle decorated in the Ringerike style were found.

Deposits show the area continued as an area of disposal of domestic and industrial waste throughout the medieval period with some evidence of drainage in the form of cuts and a large soakaway. The latest significant feature found on the site was good example of a barrel well dating to the 15th or 16th century. Later deposits had been truncated by the foundations of the ABC Cinema. An extensive programme of sieving produced good recovery of environmental evidence.
1 September 1987 – 6 November 1987
York Archaeological Trust
N Pearson (excavator)
Rhona Finlayson (excavator)
Spatial Coverage
22 Piccadilly, York
Monument Type
Monument Type - Natural
Monument Type - River Bank
Monument Type - Ditch
Monument Type - Dump
Monument Type - Fence
Monument Type - Build-up
Monument Type - Alluvial
Monument Type - River Bank Revetment
Monument Type - Levelling
Monument Type - Well
Monument Type - Cinema Building

Linked resources

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