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Discovery of items from the 14th century prompts further archaeological work on the Donut

Archaeological works will re-commence today on part of Holywell Cross (Donut) car park in Chesterfield following finds made earlier in the year.

The works will take place for at least four weeks.

In recent excavations at the car park, which is owned and operated by Chesterfield Borough Council, archaeologists from ArcHeritage, dug four trial trenches.

In these trenches, they uncovered well preserved archaeological remains of the buildings which occupied the site from the late 18th century onwards.

Earlier deposits were also found in three of the four trenches with pottery dating from as early as the 14th century recovered.

There is potential of a deeper layer of remains being present that could represent even earlier occupation and activity on the site.

The limited size of the trial trenches prevented a more detailed investigation taking place at the time.

The new dig will help to characterise these earlier deposits and ensure the site is fully assessed and documented before work begins on the construction of Chesterfield Borough Council’s new Northern Gateway Enterprise Centre.

Councillor Terry Gilby, Chesterfield Borough Council’s cabinet member for economic growth said: “These investigations are required to satisfy a planning condition as part of the approval for the Northern Gateway Enterprise Centre.

“They also represent a unique opportunity to find out more about the history of this important town centre site”.

The works will cover the entire footprint of the proposed building. The excavation area and spoil storage area will be fenced and secured.

The rest of the car park will remain open with vehicle entry and exit points continuing to operate as normal.

Glyn Davies, ArcHeritage, Regional Manager said “Archeritage is pleased to be teaming up with Chesterfield Borough Council once again on this site.

“The proposed works will greatly improve understanding of the history of this site located along Saltergate, which itself was the principal route used by the Cheshire to Chesterfield salt trade from at least the 12th Century.

“We will be employing a team of five archaeologists over four weeks on the site. The aim will be to submit our findings soon after completing these works”.

Councillor Gilby added: “Every effort will be made to minimise disruption to town centre users, although the remainder of the car park will continue to operate, drivers failing to find a space can be accommodated in the council’s other surface car parks in the town centre.”

A list of car parks is available on the council website:

First published on 03 June 2019 Last updated on 20 February 2020