Coppergate, one of the many York streets with a name of Scandinavian derivation, runs through the heart of modern York, though it lies some way outside the Roman legionary fortress. Evidently the Roman Ouse Bridge had, by the Viking Age, been replaced by another, further downstream, and this had caused the city centre to shift. In the mid-1970s York City Council decided to clear and develop five of the long narrow properties which run back from Coppergate towards the nearby River Foss. York Archaeological Trust carried out preliminary investigations which showed that well-preserved Anglo-Scandinavian buildings were to be found on the site, with organic remains excellently preserved in the waterlogged deposits. The Trust therefore chose to excavate four of the tenements before development began. Five years of continuous work on the site produced an occupation sequence which began with timber buildings of the first century AD, canabae outside the Roman fortress.
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