Community Stadium Project: Introduction to Research

Community Stadium logo_ArranArchaeological research is a collaborative process. It utilises numerous disciplines to locate, investigate and ultimately understand a site. With this in mind, York Archaeological Trust and City of York Council are offering another exciting way to get involved with the Community Stadium project – and there are no shovels required for this one!

To truly get to grips with the story of a site, it is important to make use of all the resources that are available to you. While the geophysics and excavation teams will be exploring the physical remains beneath Huntington Stadium, we are also looking to assemble a research team that will delve into the city archives to learn more about the site’s history.

The York Explore reading room during recent refurbishment. (https://citymakinghistory.wordpress.com)

The York Explore reading room during recent refurbishment. (https://citymakinghistory.wordpress.com)

We are looking for volunteers to help us see what tales of the site’s past lay hidden within the archives. To this end, York Archaeological Trust historian and buildings archaeologist Dr. Jayne Rimmer will be leading a number of free to attend training sessions, teaching the team how to access and utilise historic resources. The desk-based research will focus on the site and its immediate environs, although the Community Team will also be encouraged to broaden their research to place the site in its wider context within the city, particularly with regard to Roman York.

YAT's Jayne Rimmer will be leading the research.

YAT’s Jayne Rimmer will be leading the research.

Research will also consider the history of sport in York and associated supporters clubs. In doing so it will aim to provide historical context for the proposed community stadium, enhancing its sense of place and contributing to the development of the sports archive facility planned for the Community Hub at the proposed stadium.

After the training sessions, participants will then be encouraged to undertake further research individually throughout the life of the project, with YAT staff available to answer queries. The skills acquired by the team may then be applied to their own future research projects. This is a fantastic opportunity for members of the community to get behind the scenes of the Dig York Stadium project and to help us uncover the story of this ancient site, before the next chapter begins.

The sessions will cover:

How to research:

  • the history and development of the Community Stadium Site
  • sports and associated supporters’ clubs in York

How to use:

  • historical records in archives
  • the Historic Environment Record
  • online resources for historical research

How to understand and interpret:

  • excavation reports
  • Roman archaeology
Keith Houchen scores a late FA Cup fourth round winner for YCFC against Arsenal in 1985.

Keith Houchen scores a late FA Cup fourth round winner for YCFC against Arsenal in 1985.

Training and orientation sessions will be held at :

Explore York Archives and Local History

Monday 23rd March 9.30am-12.30pm

Tuesday 24th March 1.30am-4.30pm

Wednesday 25th March 9.30am-12.30pm

These sessions will focus on how to locate and utilise resources within archive facilities.

DIG Reading Room, St. Saviourgate

Monday 23rd March 2pm-5pm

Tuesday 24th March 9.30am-12.30pm

Wednesday 25th March 2pm-5pm

These sessions will focus on applying historic research to archaeological investigations

It isn’t essential to attend both courses, although it is recommended where possible as the material covered in each course compliments the other.

Spaces are limited and will be offered on a first come, first served basis. Please contact digyorkstadium@yorkat.co.uk for bookings and enquiries. 

York Archaeological Trust and City of York Council are working together to make the Dig York Stadium project a true collaboration between professional archaeologists and the people of York. Local people will be there at all points of the project, helping us to survey, excavate and research the site. Don’t miss your chance to join the team, who knows what we’ll find!

– Arran

Join the geophysics team!

Community Stadium logo_ArranWorking with City of York Council, York Archaeological Trust are looking to involve the local and broader community at every stage of the archaeological investigation of the Community Stadium site. In late February, work begins in earnest when we will be carrying out a detailed geophysical survey of the site and we’re looking for volunteers to join the geophysics team.

The site was first identified when earthworks were spotted in aerial photographs. To a keen eye these are clearly visible in the image below, aided considerably by the oblique winter sunlight.

DCIM100GOPRO

Aerial view of the site, January 2015. Can you spot the corner of the fort? Courtesy of @watertowers https://www.flickr.com/photos/22260522@N06/with/16219151257/

When the earthwork is highlighted, the corner of the camp is clearly visible, a remarkable survival which has lasted for almost two millennia! On the ground, these undulations are almost impossible to spot, yet from above, they leap out from the screen.

...and again with the earthworks highlighted.

…and again with the earthworks highlighted.

The aerial photography has allowed us to identify the site and hazard a guess as to the fort’s size and function. We can compare its form to other such camps in the region and start to piece together the story of the site; but this is just the beginning!

Even on temporary fortifications, the Roman legions would construct substantial defences. These banks, ditches and palisades can leave scars on the landscape that, if we’re lucky, can remain visible through the ages. What can only rarely be inferred from these wonderful photographs is what was happening inside the fort. There are countless potential features that could be found within a Roman camp; refuse pits, latrine trenches, post-holes, trackways, storage pits, ritual deposits (that old chestnut!) and many more. There could also be features that both pre-date and post-date the camp which have as yet gone un-noticed. This is where the geophysics team come in.

A community geophysics team on the North York Moors.

A community geophysics team on the North York Moors.

Using both resistivity and magnetometry, our team of volunteers will work alongside experienced professional staff to provide us with a sneak preview of what lies buried beneath the hallowed turf of the Huntington Stadium. The results of the survey will inform the upcoming excavation on areas of potential importance.

The geophysical survey will take place on the 23rd, 24th and 26th of February, with the possibility of some extra sessions to be announced at a later date. No experience is required to join the team, YAT staff will be on hand to offer guidance and instruction. Sensible clothes and sturdy footwear are recommended.

The South Ainsty Archaeology Society worked with YAT's community team to investigate a possible Templar site in Copmanthorpe.

The South Ainsty Archaeology Society worked with YAT’s community team to investigate a possible Templar site in Copmanthorpe.

This is a fantastic opportunity to learn new skills, make new contacts and to work alongside experienced archaeologists and geophysicists. Mainly it is an opportunity to help us make the very first new discoveries of what is shaping up to be a fascinating community project.

To join the team, contact digyorkstadium@yorkat.co.uk

Spaces are limited, so get in touch ASAP.

Dig York Stadium begins here!

– Arran