Gloucester archaeological dig nominated for a national award

A number of key discoveries from an archaeological dig during the redevelopment of The King's School Gloucester's Sixth Form Centre have led to the project being nominated for a national archaeology award.

By Chloe Gorman  |  Published
An archaeological dig during the redevelopment of the Sixth Form Centre at The King's School Gloucester is up for a national award.

An archaeological dig in Gloucester has been nominated for a national award after key discoveries were made during the redevelopment of the Sixth Form Centre at The King's School Gloucester

Dulverton House, which is owned by Gloucester Cathedral and now home to the £2 million King's Sixth Form Centre, was the site of an archaeological dig during the development work and has been nominated for Best Rescue Archaeological Project in the Current Archaeology Awards, which recognises the very best archaeology projects in the UK.

Chiz Harward, from Urban Archaeology in Stroud, was the lead archaeologist on the project, which lasted 18 months and unearthed the building's fascinating history going back to the 12th century.

He said: ‘Working on Dulverton was certainly challenging; most archaeologists work on buried remains, but here we had a 3D puzzle both above and below ground. It required a lot of care to unpick and make sense of a very complex history. Peeling off those layers was like releasing the history, allowing the buildings to breathe and tell their story.’

Originally built in 1320, Dulverton House was a lodging for the senior monk who ran the infirmary at the former St Peter's abbey, now Gloucester Cathedral.

Excavation works during the redevelopment project revealed fish and animal bones leftover from meals, the faces of medieval carved figures, burnt taper marks on timberwork and a set of 'six tiny pentangles' scratched into the plaster, which the team assumed were 'to ward off evil and protect the building.'

Dulverton House then became part of The King's School Gloucester in 1957, originally as a boarding house. The impressive new Sixth Form Centre, which officially opened in 2021, has sensitively preserved many of the 13th century architectural features uncovered during the project, including an archway which was buried within a wall for around 600 years that now has pride of place in reception. 

The Current Archaeology Awards are chosen by the public, with voting open until Wednesday 1 February 2023.

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