Launch event marks completion of series charting Lincoln’s archaeological past

The final volume in a comprehensive and long-awaited series documenting archaeological excavations in Lincoln has been completed after decades of hard work.

A launch event was held at City Hall on March 10 to mark the culmination of 40 years of work to produce The Archaeology of the Lower City and Adjacent Suburbs, the latest and last volume in the Lincoln Archaeological Studies series.

The volume contains reports on excavations undertaken in the lower walled city at Lincoln, and its adjacent suburbs between 1972 and 1987.

It forms a companion piece to volumes two and three which cover other parts of Lincoln.

This is the culmination of many years’ work to document the excavations undertaken by the Lincoln Archaeological Trust in the 1970s and 1980s.

Included in the book are the many Roman discoveries found during this period, along with finds from the Middle Ages.

Dr Mick Jones, former city archaeologist and one of the authors of the book. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Dr Mick Jones, former city archaeologist and one of the authors of the book. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

One of the book’s authors, Dr Mick Jones, said: “I was director of the Lincoln Archaeological Unit when English Heritage agreed to fund the cost of a project to produce the series.

“These volumes have gradually appeared, covering many, many excavations, and we’re just rejoicing in the fact that we’ve got the last one officially completed.

“A lot of the evidence for this history is only available in the form of archaeology. Archaeologists have shown how this city expanded under the Romans, and by the Norman Conquest, Lincoln was one of the leading towns and cities in the country.

“It’s just one part of the great story of the city. Lincoln’s got an amazing, long history going back to well before the Romans right through to the present day.”

Alastair MacIntosh, city archaeologist at City of Lincoln Council. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Alastair MacIntosh, city archaeologist at City of Lincoln Council. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Alastair MacIntosh, city archaeologist at City of Lincoln Council, said that the volumes would be an “invaluable resource” for researchers and the wider Lincoln public.

He said: “We have had knowledge of where the excavations have taken place which has been recorded on our heritage database, but what is in this volume is actually the full amount of information that the digs provided.

“For example, I was flicking through it the other day and I came across three Anglo-Saxon skeletons from the 9th century that weren’t recorded on the database but now I can update the records.

“The records then go forward as part of recommendations for planning officers about new developments so behind-the-scenes it will play a role in shaping the city in the future.”

Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Alastair said that the real value of the volume would be in helping residents understand their past, and how it offers possible lessons for the future.

He said: “The Roman Empire was a network into the economy through access to goods from across Europe and people enjoyed a far higher standard of living than their predecessors.

“But when the Romans left, all of those connections were severed and the standard of living dropped like a stone, so for our globalised economy, the analogies that we can draw are pretty significant.

“By understanding how a great city like Roman Lincoln could be practically abandoned within 50 years gives us lessons today about the fragility of our own economy and culture.”

Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

The book, priced at £42, can be ordered here.