Gloucester engineering firm starts archaeological excavations for The Forum
By Matt Hall | 22nd June 2021
A Gloucester-based civil engineering company has started a new round of archaeological excavations at the site being brought forward as The Forum by Gloucester City Council and Reef Group.
Amelio Group is working in close partnership with the council to enable further archaeological investigations to take place on the site, which was once home to Gloucester's bus station and the Bruton Way multi-storey carpark.
These excavations are part of a broader 'enabling works' contract that the company has been awarded to prepare the site ahead of the construction of The Forum - Gloucester's new £85m digital quarter that will regenerate the area formerly known as Kings Quarter.
The archaeological investigations follow the discovery at the site last year of the remnants of 'Whitefriars', a 13th century friary founded by the Carmelites, one of the Roman Catholic Church's four great mendicant (living by charity) orders.
Whitefriars was one of several important religious houses in medieval Gloucester along with Llanthony Priory, the Blackfriars and the Greyfriars.
Previous digs at the site, led by City Archaeologist at Gloucester City Council Andrew Armstrong, have identified the remains of beautiful tiled and mortared floors, and part of a medieval drain. It is possible Roman artefacts lie underneath the level of the friary waiting to be unearthed.
Amelio Group's senior operations manager, Ciara Doherty said: "Amelio Group are thrilled to support Gloucester City Council in partnership with Reef Group on the delivery of a landmark project for the city, and in the process, hopefully, reveal further archaeological treasures.
The contractors will also carry out an extensive culvert (underground water pipe) replacement. The trench for the new culvert will be excavated under the supervision of the archaeological team. Where archaeological remains are found, these will be hand-excavated.
Cllr Richard Cook, Gloucester City Council leader, said: "It's very exciting to take another step forward towards making the The Forum a reality, as well as potentially revealing more about our city's rich history. We look forward to sharing any future findings with the public."
Esther Croft, development director at Reef, added: "Working in partnership with the City Council, our aim is to deliver The Forum with the least possible impact on any important archaeological artefacts, and share any findings with the people of Gloucester.
"This intriguing site has already helped us better understand the wonderful and rich history of the city, and we can't wait to see what these latest excavations unearth."
This news follows the announcement on June 18 of a £20 million bid to help regenerate Gloucester city centre and create hundreds of new jobs, including within an all-new Forge Digital Hub at The Forum.
It is hoped the Forge will re-define Gloucester as the place to train, start or grow in the cybersecurity, aviation, and agri-tech sectors, bringing 205 new jobs to the city.
Amelio Group has started on site and expect to complete the enabling works by the end of this year.
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