North Quay, Weymouth, Dorset.
Archaeological trial trenching
In the spring of 2021, we excavated 4 trenches in the public car park around the former Weymouth & Portland Borough Council building on North Quay. The site is owned by Dorset Council and is ear-marked for re-development. We were commisioned to carry out some preliminary investigation as part of pre-application works. This follows a Heritage Impact Assessment prepared by Context One in 2019, the results of which identified archaeological potential around the building.
Crucially, the site occupies much of the historic core of Weymouth. This comprised the former High Street with buildings on either side with similar buildings lining North Quay and facing the harbour. This was cleared in its entirety in the early 1960s and re-developed with the municipal offices and car park in 1971. As far as we know, this marks the first modern archaeological investigation within the core of the old town. We were pleased to have been helped by volunteers from the Dig The Street Community Group, and university students.
We recently spoke about the results of the evaluation in a webinar hosted by Dorset Council as part of their Dorset Past and Present series, and we are pleased to share our presentation below.
An illustrated report on the results of the evaluation has been completed and will be available here when this is in the public domain.
The evaluation received significant interest and featured prominently in the local press and was widely reported on social media platforms. This encouraged many Weymouth residents to pop by the site and see the excavation work for themselves. Quite a few had memories of the High Street before demolition, and these stories were so interesting that we put on an Oral History Day in November 2021 with Dig The Street to record these valuable recollections. You can learn more about this project by clicking the page banner below.
While we were on site, Simon Brown from AccuPixel, a forensic photogrammetry company, reached out to us with an offer to 3D record our open trenches and we were only too pleased to say yes. The results were incredibly detailed and we are grateful to Grahame Knott (Deeper Dorset) for undertaking the Site photography and Simon for processing the images to create amazingly accurate models. Trench 1 during excavation can be viewed here on the deep3D Sketchfab page.
Thier work inspired us to produce some 3D models ourselves. For this, we used Polycam on an Ipad Pro with built-in LiDAR scanner for lower resolution models, and from photogrammetry with images processed by Metashape.
The model below is of Trench 2 and created from Metashape processing of still images taken from an overhead camera at 1m intervals. The trench itself was positoned along the North Quay frontage over the site of a possible Georgian building, elements of which appear to have been used as part of a series of ancilllary buldings associated with a 1930s expansion of an existing garage business on the corner of North Quay.
Click on the image to explore the trench...