June 6, 2022 4.30 pm

Lincoln Central Market archaeological dig finds evidence of smithy nearby

Roman ceramics also discovered

Evidence of a post-medieval blacksmith’s and Roman ceramics have been among finds during archaeological exploration of Lincoln’s Central Market.

The market is set to be redeveloped in a multi-million pound project which will see it given a new two-storey extension and roof terrace along with a central food court and new toilets.

As part of planning permission archaeological boreholes were carried out in the market.

A report submitted to the City of Lincoln Council by Environmental Archaeology Consultancy said the small sample, taken from one borehole, was difficult to extrapolate to the whole site.

However, it suggested potential uses for the area could have, for a long time, been for cultivation or gardening.

As part of the exploration the borehole found “high densities” of  hammerscale, coal and cinder.

“These concentrations of hammerscale are indicative of a smithy close by the borehole location in the post-medieval period, with the coal and cinder possibly reflecting debris from the smithy hearth,” said the report.

Also among the finds were evidence of Roman style pots and jars as well as more medieval fragments.

However, evidence that the riverbank at one time extended into the area would “suggest that there is unlikely to be any in-situ Roman archaeological deposits” said the report.

Photographs of borehole cores at 100-200, 200-300, 300-400 and 400-500cm depth. | Image: Environmental Archaeology Consultancy

There was also a suggestion it could have once been the gardens or open space behind tenements shown in a map by William Stukely in 1722.

The authors of the report say it could have been a significant open area right up until the Central Market was originally constructed in 1938.

However, they warn a single borehole was “insufficient” for characterising the area.

“A need for any further archaeological investigation would be dependent upon the level of intrusion required for the refurbishment of the Central Market,” they said.

The works being carried out by local construction company Lindum are expected to be complete by the end of 2023.

Some £5.9 million investment has been earmarked for the project thanks to a successful bid for funding through the Be Lincoln Town Deal, which has seen £19 million awarded to the city by government to drive economic regeneration and deliver long-term economic and productivity growth.

External areas in City Square and Sincil Street will also be repaved and enhanced to encourage the evening economy, with space for event and outdoor dining by the waterway.