THE remains of a medieval friary in Newport city centre are not significant enough to be preserved on site, an archaeological expert has said.
With preparations for Friars Walk cracking on, a small team of archaeologists are hard at work uncovering part of the medieval history of Newport.
Workers from Pre-Construct Archaeology (PCA) are digging away at a trench in the middle of the vast Friars Walk development site.
There archaeologists have uncovered a wall and a stone floor from the old medieval friary – which had stood on the site as recently as the 19th century.
The area being examined is part of the development site, and the developers do not intend to preserve the remains where they stand.
What was uncovered did not come as a surprise - the archaeological work had been a part of the plans for the development and it is not expected that the work will delay the development.
Paw Jorgensen is a senior archaeologist on site with PCA, the firm employed by Friars Walk developers Queensberry Real Estate (QRE) to conduct the work.
“It’s still very early days, we’re still trying to come to grips with exactly what we have,” he said.
“We’re trying to find out how everything relates to the friary. We’re trying to make out what’s contemporary and what’s not,” Mr Jorgensen said.
As well as the friary, the site has uncovered piles from previous buildings and walls from later buildings.
The trench lies in a site between several modern structures that destroyed much of the older structures on either side, including a live sewer a basement area from a previous development – the archaeologist told the Argus it was like a pocket of archaeology had survived.
But Mr Jorgensen said the remains weren’t “significant enough to warrant preserving in situ”.
However the work will allow archaeologists to position the Friary complex’s buildings accurately, and the finds will be recorded with artefacts set to be passed to local museums – Mr Jorgensen said pottery has been found on site that is thought to date to the medieval period.
Martin Tresidder, senior development manager for QRE, said the archaeological work at Friars Walk is nothing like that at the firm’s South Gate development in Bath, which he said went on for “months and months and months.”
He told the Argus: “We knew what we were looking for. We found what we were looking for.”
He expected the archaeological work to be finished within the next month.