Piazza Building may be built over ceremonial ritual ground

Image: History Channel

THE UNIQUE ARCHAEOLOGY of Heslington East means that there is a strong possibility that a ceremonial burial ground used to stand where the Piazza Building has been erected. The archaeology on Heslington East is known for its strange findings. In 2008 the oldest human brain was discovered on Heslington East after the £500 m expansion of Heslington East began. This particular case was considered unusual due to the conditions it was found in. The Iron Age skull was discovered in the centre of a muddy circular pit.

The analysis of the skull upon its discovery reported that the vertebrae attached to the skull revealed that the man who it belonged to had been hung and then decapitated. However, the mysterious thing about this situation was that the head was then thrown down into a three foot ditch, leading experts to suspect that it was a ritual offering.

The data collected on Heslington East reveals that there used to be an extensive prehistoric farming landscape of fields, trackways and buildings dating back to at least 300BC. There have been many unusual discoveries at Heslington East already. Prior to the discovery of the oldest human brain, a team from the University of York’s Department of Archaeology unearthed the skeleton of a man believed to be one of Britain’s earliest victims of tuberculosis. In addition, an isolated small pit was discovered on Heslington East to reveal a well crafted and polished Bronze Age battle-axe.

The strange findings and sudden burials of skeletons and bodies on Heslington East therefore leaves open the possibility that beneath the new Piazza building or beneath Greggs there may have been pagan rituals and sacrifices.

The history of Heslington East is well documented. 14 000 years ago the Vale of York was filled by a glacier moving south. This led to a large lake of melted water appearing in the south of the region. Ancient money was discovered by experts on Heslington East from the third and fourth centuries, meaning that money has been invested in Heslington East for 1700 years. A late Roman well was also discovered on site.

Heslington East has historically been a site of community and action with evidence of  settlers being on site from the Bronze and Iron Ages as well as a strong Roman presence being discovered. Unfortunately, the current University atmosphere on Heslington East is struggling to keep up with the buzzing social life it once had.

On hearing about the history of Heslington East, one student who lives nearby stated: “Strange, I thought that the only thing dead on Hes East is the social life.”

Overall 1106 objects have been discovered on the 115 site on Heslington East. This selection includes animal bones, fish bones, rings, pots, buckets, wells, a roundhouse, and a wall.

Between the sports centre and Kimberlow Hill are more details regarding the archaeology on Heslington East