Medieval & Post Medieval
A key area of the collection relates principally to Medieval and Post Medieval Durham. Of regional importance is the 1970s Saddler Street excavation, which includes large amounts of leatherwork (11th – 15th century), very early textiles, bone, wood and pottery. In addition, excavations from the vicinity of Durham Cathedral and the associated priories of Finchale and Bearpark are of importance for Medieval architectural studies and for archaeological research of the World Heritage church and its outstations.
In recent years, two Durham City sites, namely Leazes Bowl and Claypath, have revealed large scale, comprehensive assemblages of medieval and post medieval pottery and glass. Up-to-date archaeological recovery techniques make these important sites for future regional pottery studies into domestic and trade wares. The Claypath glass assemblage of over one hundred bottles represents the largest assemblage of Post Medieval domestic glass in the country and will be of national importance for future archaeological research into this field.
Two little known collections comprise the Eric Parsons Collection which is a large assemblage of Post Medieval clay pipes of research value for clay pipe studies in the North East, and a significant archive and photographic collection, notably the Durham Townships Survey.
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1974 Excavations at Saddler Street, Durham City
This Medieval archaeological archive comprises the finds from a well-preserved sequence of craftsmen’s premises and their associated refuse found in three tenements off Saddler Street in Durham City. Finds comprise a significant amount of pottery, the remains of a thriving leather working industry (mainly shoes), ten or more fragments of textile and many other organic artefacts including a bone skate and an ash bowl. Excavator and publisher of the site, Martin Carver, concluded that earliest occupation of the site took place in the second half of the 10th century and ended in the early 13th century. More recent research of the pottery queries this pre-Conquest dating.This rich archive will be of interest to all scholars and students of Medieval towns and crafts.
(Carver, M. 1979, Three Saxo-Norman Tenements in Durham City, Medieval Archaeology XXIII, pp1-80).