Tyne and Wear HER(17206): Newcastle, St. Nicholas Cathedral churchyard, Roman buildings - Details
Newcastle, St. Nicholas Cathedral churchyard, Roman buildings
26-28 Roman coins and 'relics' were found in St. Nicholas churchyard in 1840 (Archaeologia Aeliana, Series 1, Vol 3, appendix). A slab depicting and dedicated to the Mother Goddesses of his homeland overseas, set up by Aurelius Iuvenalis, was built into the wall of Mitchell the printers at St. Nicholas churchyard in 1840 (Spain and Simpson, 1930, p 546). Two coins of Domitius and Commodus were found in Back Row (PSAN 1890). A single coin of Antoninus Pius was found in a trench east of Queen Victoria's statue in St Nicholas Square circa 1903 (PSAN 1922). In 2007 Pre-Construct Archaeology found features of possible Roman date cur into the natural clay between the Cathedral Hall and north transept. A curvilinear feature with rounded terminal, interpreted as a drainage gully, contained a sherd of probable Roman pottery. Another drainage ditch was larger in size. These features were sealed by silty clay which contained two sherds of residual Roman pottery and medieval sherds. Slightly further to the north, two sherds of Roman pottery (C2 and C4) were found in the Cloth Market in 1979 (Ellison 1980, pp 134 and 136). Roman coins reputedly from Carliol Tower were donated to the Society of Antiquaries in 1922 (Donations Book, 25 October 1922). These finds may reflect casual losses on ground travelled over, rather than settled occupation, industry or commerce. Pottery may have come from manuring the arable fields north of the vicus. However the concentration of finds around what would become the Cathedral chuirchyard might suggest the presence of a substantial building or buildings on the postulated road to the north. It is possible that substantial buildings would survive after the construction of Hadrian's Wall to the south. The Matres slab might indicate a shrine or temple outside the official bounds of the fort.
C.P Graves and D.H. Heslop, 2013, Newcastle upon Tyne - the Eye of the North, an archaeological assessment, pp 62-64; Archaeologia Aeliana, Series 1, Vol 3, Appendix 'Donations to the Society', 11; Spain and Simpson, 1930, The Roman Wall from Wallsend to Rudchester Burn, p 546 in Dodds, MH (ed), Northumberland County History, Vol 13; Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne, 1890, Series 2, Vol 4, p 260; Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne, 1922, Series 3, Vol 10, p 343; Pre-Construct Archaeology Ltd, 2007, An Archaeological Evaluation at the Cathedral Church of St. Nicholas, Newcastle upon Tyne; Ellison in E Tullett and G McCombie, 1980, An Excavation in the Cloth Market, Newcastle upon Tyne: excavation and survey, 1979, Archaeologia Aeliana, Series 5, Vol 8, pp 134 and 136; Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne Donations Book, 25 October 1922