Roman and medieval discoveries: Waterside, Leicester

A major excavation in north-west Leicester continues at the Waterside project. In advance of redevelopment, a series of archaeological investigations have revealed fresh discoveries into the city’s Roman and medieval past on land to the west of the city centre bordering the River Soar. The project features in the Leicester Mercury, with a video and interviews with some of the team working on the site.

Roman buildings being excavated at Waterside, Leicester. Trenches denote where the walls stood before being robbed for stone in the medieval period. Also note the patch of mosaic floor in middle foreground.

Project Director Stephen Baker said the area investigated covers a large part of the north-west corner of the Roman town:

This is one of many jigsaw pieces and is giving us a better understanding of the city’s (Roman and medieval) defences – which would have been a rampart, walls and ditches – and of what was within the walls. In the past we knew about the public baths and forum, but here there would have been quite high status buildings in what would have been quite a nice place to live. They would have been built of stone with mosaics and fine pottery and we have even found a building with underfloor heating”.

Deep archaeological excavations underway at Waterside, Leicester.

Dr Richard Buckley (director of the University of Leicester Archaeological Services) said:

“Not knowing what’s out there is what makes it so exciting – and each site ends up throwing out new questions. In the past we were dealing with very small sites – what’s been brilliant over the last 10-15 years is the high number of sites being redeveloped in this part of town where we can look at the whole landscape. What has been interesting about these excavations is that we now know Leicester would have had lots of big buildings – not just the public baths and forum. It’s all being carefully mapped so that we can build the masterplan of Roman and medieval Leicester”

View of the Waterside, Leicester excavations underway, looking NW.

For more detail on our recent discovers (including a medieval cemetery) check out the following links: