York & North Yorkshire

Major Roman excavation planned for York

Existing buildings on Rougier Street Image copyright North Star
Image caption Three existing buildings (outlined in red) on the site would be demolished to allow the excavation

An archaeological dig planned in York will be the largest in the city for 40 years and see the creation of a new Roman-themed attraction.

York Archaeological Trust said it hoped to discover significant remains on Rougier Street over two years.

Developer North Star proposes to demolish three buildings on the site to allow excavation.

It also plans to construct a single building on the site comprising the attraction, a hotel and flats.

The 235,000 sq ft (23,504 sq m) development, which would cost £150m, would be billed as The Roman Quarter, North Star said.

The 33,00 sq ft (3,065 sq m) Roman attraction would be situated in the building's basement and would be twice the size of the city's Jorvik Viking Centre.

The Jorvik Viking Centre was built on the site of the Coppergate excavation, which took place between 1976 and 1981.

Archaeologists discovered thousands of individual items revealing how people in the Viking period constructed their homes, what they ate and how they made their living.

Image copyright North Star
Image caption The attraction, hotel and apartments would be built after the dig has been completed

David Jennings, chief executive officer of York Archaeological Trust, said: "The location, next to the original Roman crossing of the River Ouse, and the scale of the dig site makes us anticipate very exciting discoveries that link Roman Eboracum with York's future.

"Items discovered in similar ground conditions in Coppergate helped change the world's perception of the Vikings and made York world-renowned.

"The chance to do the same for the Romans makes this one of the most exciting projects in the world."

A public exhibition about the proposals will be held in July as part of a public consultation ahead of a full planning application being submitted, the developer said.

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