Illuminating the past – Enhancing the present – Inspiring the future

St Albans Cathedral – update

January 16th, 2018

The excavation of the ‘Monks Graveyard’ on the east side of the cathedral has now revealed nine burials probably dating to the twelfth century. The burials are characterised by graves which are anthropomorphic (shaped in the silhouette of a human body) and the buried individuals would have been tightly wrapped in a shroud, as was the custom of the time. Later burials which have been excavated have almost always been within a coffin.

At least two of the burials lay in tombs lined with Roman tile and brick, and one individual lay in a tomb of chalk blocks. The burials within the tombs are so far clustered outside the demolished Norman apse. The foundations of this are still visible and remain to be excavated. The proximity of the graves to this part of the cathedral suggests that the people buried within were important to the cathedral in some way, although further research might confirm this. We do not think at this time that these people were monks as area was given the name ‘Monks Graveyard’ in the Victorian period and may not be accurate.

The photos show:
An early burial in a tile-lined tomb.
An excavated grave with tile and chalk lining. The grey tile at the top acted as a ‘pillow’.
Planning one of the tile-lined tomb burials.

Further burials of this date are expected as the excavation continues.
St Albans Cathedral, Monks GraveyardSt Albans Cathedral, Monks GraveyardSt Albans Cathedral, Monks Graveyard
You can read more about the excavation here.



Watch the archaeologists

January 15th, 2018

Watch the excavation at Slatters Hotel as the team digs down. A viewing platform will be open to the public later on in the project.

Camera 1  |  Camera 3



Mystery of the rosary beads

January 2nd, 2018

St Albans glass beads
These blue glass beads were discovered in one of the graves excavated at St Albans and, as reported by BBCNews, they pose quite a puzzle.



All set for Slatters 2018

December 19th, 2017

slatters_early_montage
Machining is complete at the Slatters site and hand excavation has begun. Click on the image above to see scope for things to come. Joint Project Manager, Alison Hicks, gives an update here.

We can see some tantalising Roman remains in the side of a deep pit, but for now most of the site is on the medieval horizons. There are walls, hearths, ovens, floors and pits, all of which will require meticulous dismantling and recording over the coming weeks – weather permitting!

Watch the excavation  Camera 1  |  Camera 3.



Waitrose supports Education work

December 11th, 2017

Education resources
Through their Community Matters scheme, Waitrose has donated £264 to the Trust’s development of resources for schools.

If you’re a Waitrose shopper, you will know that when you shop in-store you are given a green token to put in one of three ‘good causes’ boxes near the exit. The more tokens an organisation gets, the bigger the donation they receive. Each month every Waitrose branch donates £1,000 between three chosen local causes and last month the Trust was one of these. So thank you very much Waitrose!



Lost abbot is found

December 11th, 2017

St Albans papal bulla
A week or so back one of the burials being excavated at St Albans yielded an exciting find – a papal bulla, then a second and then a third! Since then, research by experts at the cathedral has revealed the identity of the occupant of the grave. Read the story on the project blog of Alban Britain’s First Saint, or more about the excavation here.



St Albans Cathedral

November 29th, 2017

St Albans Cathedral

We will soon have an exciting update for you all from our ongoing site at St Albans Cathedral. In the meantime did you know that the original cathedral was built in 1077 and finished in just 12 years? It was constructed from material taken from the nearby ruined Roman town of Verulamium which is why the tower looks red – it’s built from Roman tile and brick!



A glimpse of things to come

November 20th, 2017

Slatters machining
Machine work began last week on the Slatters site and has already uncovered a Roman wall seen in the 1980s excavation in Slatters Hotel Yard. Unfortunately that trench was backfilled with solid concrete, but thanks to our excellent machine driver the wall has been exposed once again. We will be temporarily backfilling the hole to make the site safe but it’s a sign of the archaeology this site will contain.

Watch the excavation  Camera 1  Camera 2  Camera 3



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