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Join our dig, charity tells York locals

19 January 2024

York Archaeology

Two volunteers at York Archaeology at the site of the dig in York

Two volunteers at York Archaeology at the site of the dig in York

AN EDUCATIONAL charity is encouraging people in York to join excavation work to establish the site of St Peter-in-the-Willows, near Walmgate Bar, in the city.

York Archaeology, a professional archaeological organisation specialising in public, community, and educational projects, has been investigating the footprint of the church, first mentioned in the records in 1279, when Kirkham Priory wanted to unite it with St Michael’s. It was closed and demolished in 1549.

Some foundations were uncovered in 1827, and some wall footings were found in 1945, which suggested an extensive graveyard to the west of the church. York Archaeological Trust undertook further excavation work in 1973, uncovering further burials, a charnel pit, and the remains of buildings believed to be part of the church

The excavations were not long enough or wide enough, however, to show the dimensions of the church. The new dig will expand the search into the areas of Willow Green and School Green, close to the care home Willow House, where the charity’s project Archaeology on Prescription is based.

Arran Johnson, the community engagement officer, and his team, held a consultation event last week, at which people found out more about the project and how to get involved.

“We have two specific areas of interest, which we’d love to explore further, with more opportunities for local people to get involved — whether through research, the washing of finds, or even helping us dig a series of small trenches to see what we can find,” he said.

If the scheme receives a positive response, it will take place over the spring and summer before the trenches are filled, and turf will be relaid in the autumn.

yorkarchaeology.co.uk/news; takepart@yorkat.co.uk

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