Friday, March 14, 2008

Archeology raises medieval mystery

Lack of medieval development in Cheap Street raises questions about Newbury's past

Town historians are in for a re-think after archaeological works at the site of the new cinema failed to uncover Newbury’s medieval roots. Experts from Wessex Archeology expected to find extensive medieval remains fronting onto Cheap Street – just yards from the town’s medieval Market Place.

But excavations, which have now been completed despite the ongoing roadworks, were inconclusive. West Berkshire Council archaeologist Duncan Coe said: “The main bulk of what we’ve found is from 18th and 19th century period – a lot of houses with courtyards, wells, pumps and that sort of thing. There’s certainly evidence of craft activity – shoes, leather, and pottery.

“What’s up in the air at the moment is whether we’ve got any medieval activity on the sit. We’re currently doing some investigations to see whether the remains are medieval or slightly later.”

While medieval foundations have been found in Bartholomew Street, historians are set to ponder why economic activity did not extend along Cheap Street until later.

The Newbury Society visited the site of the cinema works on Monday (March 10) for a tour of the excavations.

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