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Central Docks Canal Link, Merseyside- Excavation and Watching Brief

Johnson, Nick (2011) Central Docks Canal Link, Merseyside- Excavation and Watching Brief. Project Report. OA North. (Unpublished)




Between March 2006 and June 2008, Oxford Archaeology North carried out archaeological excavations within the Central Docks area of Liverpool (centred at SJ 334 914). The work was undertaken for Pierse UK, and British Waterways, in advance of the cutting of a new Canal Link, creating 1.4 miles of new navigable waterway along the banks of the River Mersey. The development footprint forms a significant part of the Central Docks, stretching between the north/south dock divide at Pier Head and the Stanley Dock lock flight. The site lies within the Maritime Mercantile City of Liverpool World Heritage Site and is also classed as a conservation zone. It includes the sites of eighteenth-century sea walls, Princes Dock, Princes Half-Tide Dock, West Waterloo Dock, Victoria Dock, and Trafalgar Dock. The excavation revealed details of both the known major monuments, and additional structures which do not feature on maps and had not been documented previously. The excavations revealed a fragment of sea wall and also phases of surfacing and warehousing which appear to have been in use for a relatively short period before modification. The dock walls, for the most part, survive in almost perfect condition, and to their full height, indicated by the presence of granite coping stones with the Hartley locking stone pattern. The full depth of the walls was not revealed, as their foundations lie below the formation level for the Canal. Evidence for warehouses and sheds was limited, as they lay outside the limit of excavation. Tip lines from land reclamation were visible at both Plot 7 and between dock walls at Victoria and Trafalgar Docks. By the nineteenth century, however, when this area of the docks was under construction, land reclamation was being achieved more rapidly, on an industrial scale, partly because of the strategic control of the new Dock and Harbour Board. The majority of the infill was a mix of quarry waste and material purpose-dredged from the river bed. Limited amounts of ceramic and clay pipe fragments did find their way into this material, although the quantities are minor compared with the assemblages from the Mann Island and the Pier Head sections of the Canal Link. This may be explained by the now considerable distance of the reclamation sites from the potteries and domestic centres of the City, the rapid extension of the docks northwards meaning that the system was outstripping urban expansion, and that it was not a practical dumping ground for refuse.

Item Type:Monograph (Project Report)
Subjects:Geographical Areas > English Counties > Merseyside
ID Code:2310
Deposited By: Sandra Bonsall
Deposited On:13 Jan 2015 12:24
Last Modified:13 Jan 2015 12:24

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