H R Hurst
Gloucester Archaeological Publications, £25
Review Carly Hilts
The late 1960s and early 1970s were a period of massive redevelopment in Gloucester city centre – an area rich in archaeology. It was in this context that Henry Hurst – then the Field Archaeologist attached to Gloucester City Museum – led excavations on three sites from 1968 to 1971. A report was published in 1972, but this new volume is the first time that the full findings have been presented.
The discoveries are set out systematically, feature by feature, supplemented by photographs and clear plans, and drawing on more recent understanding. The finds illuminate Gloucester’s story from the construction of the legionary fortress in the AD 60s to the present day, and key themes are expanded with interpretative discussions – from a cut-up Roman equestrian statue, and the architecture of the forum, to the many complete medieval shoes that were preserved, and dietary clues from animal bones spanning the centuries.
The result is a useful reference and a fascinating insight into the city’s past – but above all an important reminder of the heroic efforts of rescue archaeologists during a period of turbulent urban transformation.