Archaeological excavation in Canterbury uncovers 14th century abbey precinct wall

PUBLISHED: 17:24 13 June 2017 | UPDATED: 17:24 13 June 2017

Nick Lawrence and James Revell discovering St Augustine's Abbey wall

Nick Lawrence and James Revell discovering St Augustine's Abbey wall


The footings were discovered on Canterbury Christ Church University’s North Holmes campus

Archaeologists have uncovered the footings of an ancient church, dating back to the 14th century, on a university campus.

Canterbury Archaeological Trust (CAT) excavated a site on Canterbury Christ Church University’s North Holmes campus - where a £12m arts building is due to be built to support the region’s creative art and digital industries - to ensure any Medieval, Anglo-Saxon and Bronze Age remains were protected.

During the dig, historians found the footings of the St Augustine’s Abbey precinct wall and the university has since decided to celebrate its discovery within the state-of-the-art building, with plans to expose a section of the wall beneath the glass in the main reception.

A Benedictine monastery founded in 598, the ruins of St Augustine’s Abbey in the cathedral city are now a World Heritage Site.

Dr Andy Seaman, a senior lecturer in post-Roman and medieval archaeology at CCCU, said: “As a medieval archaeologist myself, I am very excited about what the excavation tells us about the history of the abbey and the lives of its inhabitants.

“The excavation has also been fantastic for our students because it gives them an opportunity to witness an excavation from beginning to end, enabling them to see how the techniques they learn in lectures are put into practice in the field.

“This will help them to prepare for when they go on their own excavation placements this summer.”

James Revell and Nick Lawrence studied archaeology at the university and both started working for CAT after graduating in 2015.

They are now back on the North Holmes Campus to work on the site.

Mr Revell said: “I feel proud to be using my degree for what I aimed to become, especially with the Canterbury Archaeological Trust.

“I find it both brilliant and convenient that I have returned to my university to work.

“I am very pleased to have worked with my friend Nick and my tutor Andy on the site.

“Nick and I are learning a lot with CAT, it is nice to hear our tutors are proud of us for pursuing and achieving our goals.”

The arts building will open in September 2018 and will be shared by the Schools of Media, Art and Design and Music and Performing Arts.

The building will house specialist teaching facilities, including space for performance and music, design studios and the latest technology to support new and existing courses.

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