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Investigations at the Bath Hotel, Cambridge

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Edwards, David 


Limited excavations were carried-out during 1994 to the rear of the Bath Hotel, Bene't Street in advance of the construction of new facilities for Corpus Christi College. The scale of excavations was limited, investigating only areas likely to be disturbed during construction work, while unexpectedly deep and extensive late intrusions had truncated most of the post-medieval levels The earliest deposits encountered confirm the presence of medieval structures over at least the east side of the site, the western edge possibly falling within open garden areas. The very limited dating evidence suggests a possibly fourteenth century date for this occupation, with earlier medieval deposits remaining unexcavated. No coherent pattern emerged for subsequent use of the site before the construction of a series of small pits or tanks, some timber-lined. No conclusive evidence was found for how they were used and their function at present remains uncertain, although tanning remains a possibility. Their construction in at least two phases left little horizontal stratigraphy intact and dating evidence was sparse, although their use during the fifteenth century and abandonment by the mid-sixteenth century may be suggested. Finds of pottery, bone and other artefacts were very limited, but dumps associated with the abandonment and infilling of the latest tanks produced small but useful collection of complete or near complete pottery, dateable to the second quarter of the sixteenth century. The very similar character of this pottery to dumps found during the Bene't Court excavations, just to the northwest, suggests some possible connection. In view of the date and known history of properties in this part of the town, some association with changes in ownership and the use of the site during the mid-sixteenth century may be suggested.During the period of the excavation, refurbishment work at the Bath Hotel provided an opportunity to record much of the original seventeenth century timber frame of the building, and a brief report on this separate project, carried out by the CAU in collaboration with the Cambridge Historic Buildings Group, is included here.



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Cambridge Archaeological Unit, Department of Archaeology, University of Cambridge

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