During the initial stages of the construction of the new Westgate Oxford shopping centre, the developer, Westgate Oxford Alliance (Landsec and The Crown Estates) and the main contractor Laing O’Rourke, have funding and facilitated all the archaeological works as a requirement by Oxford City Council.
Oxford Archaeology were on hand to record and recover the remains of human activity that have survived on the site.
South's excavations at Westgate Oxford, which were recently recognised by the British Archaeological Awards as ‘Best Archaeological Project 2016’, saw up to 50 dedicated archaeologists working on site in often challenging conditions to reveal the extensive remains of the medieval Greyfriars friary (AD 1244-1538) during the construction of a new Westgate Oxford
The excavations, which began in January 2015, uncovered the stone foundations of the friary precinct, including parts of the precinct wall, cloister, dormitories, reredorter, kitchens, buttery, servery, and a refectory. Finds include up to 1,000 waterlogged timbers and hundreds of small finds, such as styli and bookclasps, in addition to several wooden and leather items. Part of a rare medieval tiled pavement was also discovered.
All uncovered artefacts have been painstakingly preserved and transferred from the construction site to the Museum of Oxford. There you will see what archaeologists use to build up knowledge of the site and you can look through the site record folder and see our site drawings. Learn more about the history of the area before the Greyfriars built their huge complex. See what the Friars were eating and preparing in their kitchens and the pots and everyday objects they used. More exquisite religious and scholarly finds are on display. Discover what the buildings were made from and what we know so far about the whole complex. Move on through the Civil War (another chance to see the halberd) and into the fascinating Victorian and Twentieth Century history of St Ebbe's. Discover how much this Lost Suburb has changed, what the streets were like and how people lived. See the bottles they drank their beer from, the 'Pop-Pop' toy gun and the head of a doll St Ebbe's children played with. Learn about the places you can still see and visit today. See a rare gem of Oxford on display, a selection of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Centre archives and learn about how the buildings in Turn Again Lane were central to the Oxford Preservation Trust's story.
For events and activity details please visit the Museum of Oxford website: http://oxfordarchaeology.com/sites/16-westgate-excavations
The Museum of Oxford, Oxford Town Hall, St. Aldate's, Oxford, OX1 1BX.
Entrance is the main Town Hall entrance on St Aldate's and The Gallery is next to the Cafe on your left-hand side and opposite the Museum Shop.