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Secret life of medieval city found under Cathedral Square

HISTORIC treasures buried under Peterborough's Cathedral Square have revealed a little-known side to the city.

HISTORIC treasures buried under Peterborough's Cathedral Square have revealed a little-known side to the city.Archaeologists at Peterborough Museum say the finds, which have been uncovered since works to install new fountains in the square got under way in April, reflect medieval life in the city centre.

And city museum archaeologist Ben Robinson is confident there are many more surprises to be stumbled across which will provide the key to life beyond the 16th century.

He said: "We have found a whole manner of objects, from coins to really chunky old door keys.

"Broken pottery fragments from all over the region were also uncovered, along with animal bone from a butcher's.

"Off-cuts of leather from shoes and clothes were also found, suggesting there were a lot of people working leather in the area at the time.

"Other items found include spoons, knives and a purse.

"There are always a few documents around which can tell us who was living there, and maybe what buildings were there at a particular time. But only archaeology can tell us what they were wearing, eating, and where they were working.

"The results of the dig have been brilliant so far, and give us a very good picture of how crucial Cathedral Square once was in a market town.

"We are now trying to piece together our own map of how the city may have looked, as we only have maps dating back to 1610.

"A team of archaeologists have been working on the site with developers since day one and will remain with them to record and excavate any finds they come across.

"We don't doubt that the digs will throw up other interesting finds into historic Peterborough, as the results have been really surprising so far and completely changed our views of what the city centre was once like.

"For example, we now know that there were quite a few buildings at the east end, which means the market place wasn't as big as we once thought."

Members of the public were invited to view some of the Medieval finds at a special event called Under Your Feet, last weekend, which explored the city's rich archaeology.

There was also a re-enactment of life in the 1400s by the Medieval Sokemen, who held demonstrations on period food, crafts, arms and armour.

For more information about the museum, call 01733 864663, e-mail museum@peterborough.gov.uk, or check the website at www.peterboroughheritage.org.uk

 

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