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Herbert Art Gallery and Museum Receives Donation of Hundreds of Artefacts
From the left, Paul Thompson from The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Iain Soden from Northamptonshire Archaeology and Ian Beaumont from Oakmoor Deeley with a medieval shoe found at the Belgrade Plaza development

COVENTRY.- Hundreds of artefacts dating back to the 13th century which were found during the archaeological investigations ahead of the building work on Belgrade Plaza have been donated by Oakmoor Deeley to The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum.

Experts from Northamptonshire Archaeology found a variety of archaeological artefacts including medieval shoes, animal bones, pottery and plant seeds in their excavation work at the £130 million mixed-use Belgrade Plaza development in Coventry city centre.

They also handed over finds from other excavations in Far Gosford Street and Whitefriars Street.

About 150 boxes crammed with items dating from between 1300 and 1900 have been handed over to The Herbert which will eventually be fully accessible to the public at their new facility.

Iain Soden, Senior Project Officer from Northamptonshire Archaeology who undertook the investigations on behalf of Oakmoor Deeley, said all the archaeological finds had been analysed and reported to the local planning authority and the last task was to deposit the finds with The Herbert.

“The 120 leather medieval shoes were the most exciting find,” he said. “They were out of the ordinary because we didn’t expect to find so much leather.

“The shoes have been fully conserved – the water has been frozen out of them – and they now look like shoes again.

“We often find a lot of bones due to food waste but a substantial proportion of the Belgrade Plaza material was waste carcass matter from the leather tanning industries including half-a-dozen cow heads.

“The ecofacts were all microscopic like seeds and pollens. We filled 40 litre buckets and extracted them by floating them out of the soil which included charred seeds and water plant seeds. There were also pollens from the defensive town ditch in Bond Street which had been dropped in or been blown in from over-hanging trees.

“These give us an unusually detailed glimpse of life and environment medieval history and I hope visitors to The Herbert find the archaeological finds interesting.”

A silver coin hoard which was found in Far Gosford Street has been declared Treasure Trove and has been donated to The Herbert for the city’s benefit.

Paul Thompson, Museum Archaeology Officer at The Herbert, added: “We are the statutory repository for archaeological archives in the city and it is always fascinating to receive items from Coventry’s rich and varied history.

“Some of these finds will be on display shortly in ‘What's in Store’ which is our new publicly accessible store, already open following our £20 million development and extension.”

Developers Oakmoor Deeley are behind the Belgrade Plaza which is a mix of new apartments, retail and leisure units as well as hotels and a casino. The city’s biggest car-park with 1,100 spaces has already opened between the ring road and the Belgrade Theatre.

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