Council praises community and heritage groups as archaeological dig concludes

North Quay heritage discovery
Photo: Dorset Council

As a recent archaeological dig finished, Dorset Council is starting to outline the next steps in redeveloping the North Quay and Weymouth Bowl sites.

Archaeological work at the North Quay site in Weymouth came to a close last week. The excavation was carried out by Context One, a local independent Heritage & Archaeology firm, which included digging four-wide exploratory trenches at strategic locations around the site and investigating what was found.

The team and Council officers were astounded at how well-preserved some of the site’s remains were. Interesting finds include:

  • There was evidence for the remains of two medieval buildings in separate trenches.
  • In both cases, these were superseded by Georgian buildings.
  • The remains of 18th century buildings with Victorian and early 20th century additions were encountered in all trenches.
  • The partial floor plans of the later buildings were revealed just below the tarmac including dividing walls, flagstone floors, hearths, courtyard paviers, stone thresholds and drainage systems.
  • Historic maps and old photographs have helped identify the exact buildings along North Quay and the former High Street that were investigated during the evaluation.

Community and heritage groups, historians, and residents all assisted the team by answering questions and providing useful local information that helped the Context One team piece together a complete picture of the past surrounding the North Quay site.

All of the archaeological data will now be retrieved, analysed, and placed in context with all of the other historical data and documents present in the region. In the coming weeks, a final report will be completed by Context One, which will be shared with Dorset residents and thoroughly considered alongside the development proposals.

Local interest and community groups made it clear that they wanted the opportunity to explore what lies beneath the ground at North Quay before demolition and redevelopment takes place, and we were happy to accommodate such activity. By working together to pool our knowledge of the area, we could make the most of this wonderful opportunity to uncover some of Weymouth’s rich history.

I want to thank Context One and the many volunteers, residents, and local heritage groups for their support during these archaeological works. I was lucky enough to attend the dig and speak to the team on site and was fascinated by what they have unearthed. It’s heart-warming to hear of the passion and enthusiasm from the local community to fill in the knowledge gaps and help the team get a better idea of the site’s history. I’m told that the team on site even brought in volunteers to speak with passers-by while work was continuing, such was the interest of some residents.

I’m looking forward to seeing the full report soon when we can fully consider the significance of Context One’s findings and see if/how they affect the current development proposals for the North Quay site. We will make this report available for everyone to see and, in the meantime, we’ll continue to engage with interested parties and keep everyone up to date with what is happening.

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