Record Details

NHER Number:26437
Type of record:Monument
Name:Saxon, Medieval and post medieval settlement, Millennium Library/Bethel Street Car Park

Summary

Archaeological work conducted here over the period of 1995-2001 recorded various features of medieval and post medieval date. These included the remains of medieval structures and pits, post medieval pits and a well, medieval/post medieval pottery and metalwork. This work also recorded a cell of the undercroft associated with the White Swann Inn which had a well preserved barrel vaulted roof and dated to the early 15th century. Evidence of Saxon settlement was also identified in the form of poast holes, and a Viking gold ingot was recovered- the only one to have been found in Britain

Images

  • An NAU excavation on the site of the Millenium Library in Norwich in 2001  © Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service

Location

Grid Reference:TG 2286 0840
Map Sheet:TG20NW
Parish:NORWICH, NORWICH, NORFOLK

Full description

November 1995. Trial Trenching.
Evaluation of Bethel Street car park prior to proposed redevelopment (them known as the 'Technopolis Project').
Trench 1, immediately adjacent to Bethel street contained medieval structural remains, domestic rubbish pits and a later well. The rubbish pits contained pottery, animal bone and brick and tile fragments. A substantial cess pit and a late medieval flint wall were identified in trench 3, in the back yard of the former White Swan Inn. A further trench was excavated to investigate the survival of a medieval undercroft known to have lain beneath the White Swan Inn. Upstanding brick and flint walls and the base of one of the ribs that supported the roof survives. A strip of copper alloy used to to decorate a thirteenth- century casket, a carved set on bone tweezers, pottery and animal bone were recovered from two large pits identified in trench 7. Medieval and post medieval material was recovered from every trench, but the absence of Late Saxon material is marked.
The site was also subject to a geotechnical investigation that sampled the depth of made ground at 76 different points across the car park.
See reports (S1) for full details. The results of this work are also summarised in (S8). See also press cutting (S2) and interim report (S12).
E. Rose (NLA), 14 December 1995. Updated by H. White (NLA), 17 June 2009 and P. Watkins (HES), 25 March 2014.

29 July 1998. Watching Brief.
Partial re-excavation of trial pits excavated in 1995 (TP1, TP2, TP3).
No archaeological finds or features were encountered.
See report (S3) for further details.
C. Phillips (NAU) 29 July 1998.

November 1998. Excavation by NAU.
Six month excavation programme before construction of new library.
A sixteenth-century tyg was recovered from a brick-lined pit. A clay and timber lined tank infilled with refuse was also identified, and may have been used as part of the dyeing process. Medieval cess pits and a thirteenth-cetury Grimston Ware jug were identified in the Bethel street area of the site. Twelfth- century crushed gravel foundations and walls, believed to have been a row of houses facing Bethel street were uncovered, along with a medieval jewelled book mount, pottery, knives and household implements. A Viking gold ingot- the only piece of its kind found in Britain- was discovered beneath the floor of a seventeenth-century cellar. Saxon post holes were another significant discovery, as it was previously thought that this area had not been settled until the Norman period.
See press cuttings (S4) and (S5) in file. Additional information to follow.
Final publication to follow. The results of this work are summarised in (S9).
H. White (NLA), 17 June 2009

1999. Excavation
Continuing excavation work recorded Iron Age pits and flints, and a scatter of Roman and Middle Saxon pottery. Pre-conquest remains also included two Late Saxon boundary ditches, a gold ingot of 'Viking' type, and a Late Saxon crucible with gold residue. Post-conquest features included timber buildings, cess/rubbish pits, a lime-kiln and wells.
Final publication to follow. The results of this work are summarised in (S10).
D. Holburn (HES), 21 November 2011.

The archive associated with the 1998-1999 excavations has been deposited with the Norwich Castle Museum (NWHCM : 2003.169).
P. Watkins (HES), 5 May 2019.

November-December 2000. Watching Brief.
Monitoring of service trenches adjacent to Bethel Street and St Peters Street.
No finds or features of archaeological interest.
See report (S6) for further details.
D. Gurney (NLA), 23 February 2001.

March-April 2001. Watching Brief and Excavation.
Monitoring of service trenching and small excavation to record condition and position of previously undiscovered portion of the medieval undercroft associated with the White Swan Inn (NHER 611). The undercroft has a well-preserved barrel vaulted roof, and appears to be early 15th century.
Contexts 14636-14668 used.
See report (S7) for further details. The results of this work are also summarised in (S11).
D. Gurney (NLA) 6 March 2002. Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 25 March 2015.

Monument Types

  • FEATURE (Unknown date)
  • FINDSPOT (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • BUILDING (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CESS PIT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Medieval to 19th Century - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • INN (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • PIT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • UNDERCROFT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WALL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BUILDING (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • PIT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • WELL (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds

  • BLADE (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • INGOT (Saxon - 410 AD to 1065 AD)
  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BOOK FITTING (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BOX (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BRICK (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CASKET (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FLOOR TILE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • KNIFE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • METAL WORKING DEBRIS (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • NAIL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • ROOF TILE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • TILE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • TYG (Medieval to 19th Century - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • BRICK (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • POT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • TILE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • TOILET ARTICLE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • TWEEZERS (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

---Unpublished Contractor Report: Penn, K. 1999. The French Borough at Norwich: St Stephen's Parish (west part). An Archaeological Assessment. Norfolk Archaeological Unit. 438.
---Unpublished Report: de Feyter, J. and Corbee, E. Historical Development of the Technopolis Site.
---Photograph: NAU. 1998-1999. JLA-JLT. 1-1148.
---Photograph: 1998-1999. MZW. Excavation by NAU Archaeology at Bethel St Car Park..
---Photograph: 1995. MZX - MZY. Evaluation by NAU Archaeology at Bethel St Car Park..
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
---Slide: Various. Slide. 1149-1181.
<S1>Archive: NIAS. Norfolk Industrial Archaeology Society Records.
<S1>Unpublished Contractor Report: Percival, S. 1995. Evaluation Report, Bethel Street Car Park, Norwich. Norfolk Archaeological Unit. 160.
<S2>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1995. History lesson lies under the car park. 29 November.
<S3>Unpublished Contractor Report: Phillips, C. 1999. Report on a Watching Brief at Bethel Street Car Park, Norwich. Norfolk Archaeological Unit. 340.
<S4>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1998-1999. [Articles on the excavation between 1988-1999].
<S5>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1999-2001. [Articles on the gold ingot found on the site of the Millennium Library, Norwich].
<S6>Unpublished Contractor Report: Moss, N. 2001. Report on an Archaeological Watching brief at Norwich Millennium Library Site, St. Peter's Street. Norfolk Archaeological Unit. 570.
<S7>Unpublished Contractor Report: Moss, N. 2002. Report on an Archaeological Excavation and Watching Brief at Millennium Library Site, St Peter's Street, Norwich. Norfolk Archaeological Unit. 601.
<S8>Article in Serial: Gurney, D. (ed.). 1996. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk 1995. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLII Pt III pp 397-412. p 405.
<S9>Article in Serial: Gurney, D. and Penn, K. (eds). 1999. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk 1998. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLIII Pt II pp 369-387. p 379.
<S10>Article in Serial: Gurney, D. and Penn, K. (eds). 2000. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk 1999. Norfolk Archaeology. XLIII Pt III pp 521-543. p 533.
<S11>Article in Serial: Gurney, D. and Penn, K. (eds). 2002. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk, 2001. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLIV Pt I pp 162-177. p 172.
<S12>Unpublished Contractor Report: Percival, S. 1995. Bethel Street Car Park, Norwich. Evaluation Excavation Interim Report. Norfolk Archaeological Unit.

Related records

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Site 1508Parent of: Bethel Street car park (Monument)
Site 2011Parent of: Bethel Street Car Park (Monument)
Mon 1620Parent of: Bronze Age Ditch (Library Site) (Monument)
Mon 1630Parent of: Lime Kiln (Library) (Monument)
Mon 1625Parent of: Stone Building - 1/w.ern (Library Site) (Monument)
Mon 1626Parent of: Stone Building - 2/e.ern (Library Site) (Monument)
Mon 1631Parent of: Stone Building-med (Library) (Monument)
Mon 765Parent of: The Bull Inn, St Stephens Street (Monument)
Site 2247Parent of: The White Swan Inn (Monument)
611Parent of: The White Swan Inn, St Peter's Street (Monument)
Site 1287Parent of: The White Swan Inn, St. Peters Street (Monument)

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