Guildhall Yard East publication (GYE92)

Guildhall Yard East (© MoLAS)

Clients: Corporation of London

Author: Peter Rowsome

Site supervisors: David Bowsher, Carrie Cowan, Nick Bateman, Nick Holder, Isca Howell, Robin Wroe-Brown

The Guildhall Yard East excavations, funded by the Corporation of London between 1987 and 1999, must rank amongst the most important to be undertaken in London. They resulted in the discovery of London´s Roman amphitheatre in 1988 and, of equal importance, a remarkably well-preserved sequence of timber buildings dating from the 11th century onwards.

It was clear that findings from the Guildhall Yard site, designated as a Scheduled Ancient Monument following the discovery of the amphitheatre, would require an extensive programme of analysis leading to academic publication. In 1999, when the final phase of fieldwork was drawing to a close, the Corporation of London and their archaeological consultant worked together with MoLAS to design and implement a post-excavation project. This included the identification and agreement of a range of tangible results and products that the client, archaeologists, researchers and the many other groups and organisations interested in the site wanted to see. Assessment, analysis and publication work was carefully programmed and budgeted, with a three-phase timetable set out for the years 2000–06.

An innovative part of the post-excavation work was the decision to publish a popular book, Gladiators at the Guildhall, at the start of the work. Research also contributed to the successful display of the amphitheatre, opened to the public in 2002. The main programmes of assessment and analysis have been completed on time and within budget, resulting in a rolled-forward saving to the client. The next stage of work will see MoLAS writing two large academic monographs: the first on the Roman amphitheatre and the second on medieval occupation from the 11th century up to the Great Fire and beyond, including important new evidence for the establishment and evolution of the Guildhall itself.

The Guildhall post-excavation work is an outstanding example of MoLAS archaeologists working closely with the client to ensure delivery of a high quality and cost-effective solution: in this case an important new body of archaeological research and publication of one of London´s most important historic monuments.

This site report is extracted from MoLAS 2003: annual review

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