Westgate archaeology

Karen Neville

Archaeology

Archaeology and history trail unveiled at Westgate Oxford

A brand new interactive archaeological and history trail has been unveiled to the public at Westgate Oxford, showcasing artefacts uncovered during the excavation of the centre site – the largest exposure of medieval buildings yet seen in the city.

Items uncovered relate to the Franciscan Friary that previously existed on the site – founded in 1224 and dissolved in the 1530s.
The trail which has been created in partnership with Oxford Archaeology, comprises of several illustrated totems in and around Westgate Oxford.

Each details information and items of national historic significance uncovered during the 2015/16 archaeological excavation, including:
– The vanished suburb of St Ebbe’s
– Original pavement from the Franciscan Friary
– Art inspired by Franciscan friar Roger Bacon

Locals and tourists alike can interact with the trail and find out more information about the dig by scanning the QR codes on the totems in the centre, or by visiting the Westgate Oxford website from their smartphone. For those wishing to take part in the trail, printed maps are available at the Guest Experience Desk.

The trail also signposts history buffs to other locations of importance within the city including the Weston Library, the Bates Collection at St Aldates Church, the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford Castle Quarter, and more.

We never could’ve imagined so many treasures would be unearthed from beneath our feet.

General manager at Westgate Oxford, Brendan Hattam said they were excited to see the opening of the trail. He added: “It’s the culmination of many years’ work alongside Oxford Archaeology, starting with the ground-breaking in 2015. We never could’ve imagined so many treasures would be unearthed from beneath our feet.

“We’ve found medieval handbags and shoes, and now our shopping centre sits on the same site – it’s incredible to think about what existed here before.

“The trail will be an incredible educational resource for both Oxford locals and visitors alike, and its interactive nature appeals to all ages. We’re very proud to be a part of the rich history of Oxford.”

The Westgate Oxford archaeology and history trail is running now.

Find out more information