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Archaeological dig at hospital site kicks off Berwick Heritage Open Days

Tuesday, 07 September, 2021
Archaeological dig at hospital site kicks off Berwick Heritage Open Days

There’s a last chance to view the current phase of the ongoing archaeological dig at Berwick Infirmary later this week as the town’s Heritage Open Days get underway.

The Heritage Open Days (HODs) programme this year runs from Friday, September 10, to Sunday, September 19, with more than 40 events, in person and online, taking place across Berwick, Spittal and Tweedmouth.

It comes as organisers mark the 30th anniversary of Berwick in 1991 becoming the first town in England to take part in what then became Heritage Open Days in 1994.

Plus, it coincides with the final opportunity to access the viewing platform that looks onto the excavation, which is taking place as part of the major project to build a new £30million state-of-the-art hospital.

Northern Archaeological Associates, working on behalf of Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, has been working on the current area since the spring and will now be moving elsewhere on the site.

A range of artefacts has been found, including pottery and fish bones, alongside a large cobbled area, all of which are helping to paint a picture of domestic life in the town during the 12th and 13th centuries.

Berwick Archivist Linda Bankier, on behalf of the Berwick HODs team, said: “It’s great that residents and visitors can learn more about this important archaeological excavation which sheds light on life in the town in the Medieval period.

“Given that we are celebrating our 30th anniversary this year, it seems appropriate that the HODs programme will be kicked off by looking back more than 900 years, to an interesting point in the history of Berwick, when it was already an important and thriving settlement, but one yet to be enclosed within the Medieval town walls and later Elizabethan defences.”

On Friday, September 10, from 10am to 2pm, members of the public will be able to view the ongoing archaeological works, ask questions of the archaeologists and view some of the artefacts recovered during the excavations.

To access the site, walk up Low Greens from Violet Terrace and the entrance gate is on the left-hand side.

As part of the new hospital project, demolition of parts of the infirmary, originally built in 1874, started early in the summer. It is taking place in a methodical sequence on account of the archaeological work.

For more information on Berwick Heritage Open Days, visit www.berwickhods.org.uk


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