Bath Lane, Leicester

ULAS carried out a large excavation (on behalf of developer Watkin Jones through Wardell Armstrong) to the east of All Saints Road, Leicester. Significant Roman and medieval archaeology was revealed.

The western side of the site contained archaeology associated with the Roman defences, including the rampart and successive ditches or channels. The available evidence suggests that the cut of the Roman wall was c. 3m wide, similar to examples elsewhere. The area east of the defences was probably initially used for quarrying and later occupied. A Roman building complex, with a series of rooms on an east-west axis, was suggested by lines of in-situ plaster, the construction was primarily rammed earth and clay, possibly incorporating a timber element.

The most prominent known aspect of medieval activity within the proximity of the site was the Dominican friary (Blackfriars), founded in the 13th century and likely to have been sizeable. The present excavation revealed the remains of a stone building complex on the eastern side of the site, comprising several elements. The walls are largely built of local Daneshill sandstone, supplemented by granite fragments and occasional reused Roman building tile. Some of the walls had been robbed out in a later period. The structure appears to continue beyond the edge of excavation towards Alexander Street and is also likely to continue east and north towards Jarvis Street.

A heartfelt thank you to everyone who worked on the site through this particularly adverse winter. The site should provide new and exciting insights into this corner of the Roman and medieval town, especially in view of current nearby excavations.

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