Anglo-Scandinavian Occupation at 16-22 Coppergate


Richard A. Hall (2014)


This volume provides the long-awaited final report on the excavations of the Viking-Age tenements on Coppergate (‘The Viking Dig’). Excavations at 16–22 Coppergate uncovered a large swathe of York’s late Anglian and Anglo-Scandinavian townscape on a spur of land between the Rivers Ouse and Foss. The report charts the establishment and subsequent development of four urban properties, demarcated by fence lines, which were still recognisable into modern times. A total of seventeen structures, some of them still standing almost 2m high, were excavated on these properties, arranged gable-end to the newly established street of Coppergate or on land immediately behind. Excavation of the backyards of the plots, which extended behind the buildings down towards the River Foss, revealed them to have been used for cess-pits, rubbish pits, and small-scale animal husbandry and horticulture, accessed from the structures along wattle or plank pathways. The survival of wood allowed for a very large number of dendrochronological dates to be established and these, augmented by other scientific dates and a sequence of coin dates, provide a detailed chronological framework for the site.

A subsequent watching brief and small-scale excavation on an adjacent site revealed evidence for further properties and structures of the same character. These findings, combined with the detailed evidence from the main excavation, facilitated an unparalleled examination of a large tract of York’s townscape which includes early churches and the west bank of the River Foss, and charts the rebirth of urban life in York in the pre-Conquest period.

Archaeology of York volume 8/5

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