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Westgate Car Park Oxford

Bashford, Robin Westgate Car Park Oxford. [Client Report] (Unpublished)

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Between July and September 2006, Oxford Archaeology (OA) carried out a field evaluation at
the Westgate Centre, Oxford (centered on SP 5108 0594). The work was carried out on behalf
of John Samuel’s Archaeological Consultants (JSAC now CgMs inc. JSAC) who were
commissioned by Nathanial Lichfield on behalf of The Westgate Partnership. The Westgate
Partnership is a joint venture between Capital Shopping Centres plc and Coal Pension
Properties Ltd and is proposing the redevelopment of the existing Westgate Centre and
associated car parks (both multi-storey and surface level). The current phase of evaluation
comprised 4 trenches within the multi-storey car park, 7 in the surface car parks and a
further 5 in areas adjacent to the car parks which will be affected by the proposed
The Westgate car park lies at the interface between the second gravel terrace and the Thames
flood plain. The Trenches to the south of the site revealed an organic deposit overlying the
undulating top of the first gravel terrace, and overlain by a series of alluvial clays. These
deposits have been encountered during previous archaeological work on the flood plain. The
organic deposit is thought to have formed from the remnants of a reed swamp which has been
buried beneath numerous phases of later alluviation.
The alluvial deposits appeared to be cut by a number of channels, with some containing
evidence for timber revetment. They were predominantly medieval or post medieval in origin
and fairly consistent with cartographic evidence.
A limited amount of evidence was also recovered for discrete feature(s) cutting the alluvial
deposits, which also appeared to be medieval in origin and have been tentatively interpreted
as clay quarrying.
Two parallel timbers identified in a previous evaluation (JSAC, 2001) and interpreted as a
timber lined channel were re-excavated. These appeared to be overlain by a potential N-S
aligned stone ‘surface’ which may represent a post-medieval ford across the Trill Mill Stream
at the base of the second terrace. It is now suggested that the timbers may have been
associated with the stone surface, although the original interpretation cannot be discounted.
Evidence for possible 11th-12th century land reclamation extending southwards from the
second terrace was also recovered, and it is possible that this was specifically undertaken to
create a building platform for the construction of the Franciscan friary of Greyfriars in the
13th century. Robbed or partially robbed walls which presumably relate to the friary complex
were identified in a number of the trenches within the multi-storey car park, and one trench
contained a series of what appeared to be midden deposits, possibly representing the
disposal of rubbish away from the site of occupation or domestic activity.
The northernmost trench displayed some evidence for post-dissolution occupation within the
friary church. No evidence for the tomb of St Agnellus, founder of the order in England, was
revealed although a potential grave cut was identified beneath the later occupation deposits.
The remaining recorded deposits appeared to relate to the use of the area as gardens/pasture,
and subsequently the construction of Victorian terraced housing and the demolition of same
in the late 1960s.

Item Type: Client Report
Subjects: Geographical Areas > English Counties > Oxfordshire
Period > UK Periods > Medieval 1066 - 1540 AD
Divisions: Oxford Archaeology South > Fieldwork
Depositing User: Scott
Date Deposited: 08 Jan 2019 12:14
Last Modified: 08 Jan 2019 12:14
URI: http://eprints.oxfordarchaeology.com/id/eprint/4580

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