November: medieval cemetery at Waterside, Leicester.

The Waterside project continues with more large open area excavations in advance of redevelopment. At All Saints Road, a medieval cemetery with over 100 burials have been excavated so far. The initial age range has been wide, with several mass graves containing adults, or children and neonates, or a combination of ages. The burials appear to lie to the north, and in respect of, a building which may be a church, possibly the parish church of St Clement’s or a building associated with the Dominican friary (Blackfriars).

A building that appears to be associated with the burials has been identified by a series of robbed wall that lie on the same alignment as the graves. It is possible that the walls were part of a church, but whether this is the ’lost’ St. Clements parish church or part of the Blackfriars complex is difficult to decide at this stage.

The final third of the area is dominated by a length of Leicester’s Town wall, where substantial stone foundations and lower courses have been identified and cleaned, along with associated ditches. Initial debates have ensued over possible construction techniques, although this does appear to consist of quite distinct elements, including clear wall facing stones and, whether by design or collapse, a central rubble core. The cemetery extends as far as this feature where it overlies the robbed wall. River channels have been identified further east, the river presumably playing an important part in the planning and construction and remains of the archaeology of Leicester’s town defences.

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