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Posts tagged with 'manchester dock excavation'

A groundbreaking event

30 April 2007 by Sam

Digger in front of Liver Building

Loyd Grossman gets to work

Today was a significant date in the story of the Museum of Liverpool. After years of planning, followed by the excavation of the site by our field archaeology unit, work has finally started on site to build the new museum.

The occasion was officially marked with a groundcutting ceremony with our chairman Loyd Grossman. If you can’t wait until 2011 to see the finished building, you can find out what it will look like on our capital projects pages. Read more…

Dig at the dock – update

4 April 2007 by Karen

Mark Adams from the archaeology team with an update on activity at the Manchester Dock site. Photos from the dig are still on our Flickr page. If you’ve missed any of the excavation posts follow the ‘museum of liverpool’ link at the foot of this post.


After a lull of about three weeks whilst we recorded the dock structures exposed in the first phase of the dig, excavation has begun for the new museum foundations. This is being undertaken as a ‘Watching Brief’ which entails the Museum’s archaeologists monitoring the excavation of the site by machine. The site is being excavated in this way because test-pits and boreholes taken earlier in the project showed that the quaysides were constructed over dumps of sands, gravels and rubble dumped into the Mersey to form this part of the docks. The vast majority of this material is of little or no archaeological interest, most is probably dredgings taken from the river, and hand digging of this material is not realistically feasible or productive. However, it does contain pockets of very interesting deposits. So far we have found more sugar moulds (below) similar to those found earlier in the excavation, including one which although broken may be complete, and another with a complete makers stamp for W. Ashcroft of Prescott. Read more…

Dig at the dock – lots of snaps

9 March 2007 by Karen

looking up towards a sunbathed dock gate partly submerged in earth

Just added another batch of photos to our Manchester Dock photoset on Flickr. Some pretty nice snaps there including this one taken low down in Manchester Dock.

Manchester Dock progress report

2 March 2007 by Sam

We haven’t heard from the field archaeology unit for a while, which usually means that they are way too busy uncovering interesting finds out on site to make it near a computer. Here’s the latest news from Rob Philpott:

The excavation on the site of Manchester Dock has continued for several weeks and we have made good progress in revealing the walls of the dock. The dock had been filled in with crushed sandstone excavated from the first Mersey Tunnel so it could be safely removed by mechanical excavator to a depth of about 4 metres. Read more…

Dig at the dock – staff inspection

19 February 2007 by Sam

People around hole on building site

A hole lot of fun in the docks

This morning I went on a special staff tour of the Manchester Dock dig site, led by project officer Mark Adams from the field archaeology unit. That’s him on the right of the photo – the one with the high visibility jacket and hard hat!

You can get a rough idea of the site layout in this aerial photo. Since that was taken the team have been digging down to reveal a number of key features from around the old dockside, including machinery and the hydraulic system that moved the dock gates. Read more…

Dig at the dock – masons’ marks

2 February 2007 by Karen

a close up of sandstone block carrying the mark H 4

The mason’s mark H4

Museum archaeologists excavating Manchester Dock have been pleased to find the inner walls of the lock gate are in very good condition. Many of the stones not only feature the original chisel marks but also the identifying marks of the individual masons. Stonemasons would mark the stones they had dressed so their daily output could be accurately tallied and they would be paid accordingly.

Some are simple shapes (like the triangle one featured on our Flickr page). Others are a mix of letters and numbers like this example. Read more…

Dig at the dock – more from week 4

1 February 2007 by Karen

brown earth has been removed to expose dock walls and the top of two wooden dock gates

The internal dock gates at Manchester Dock are exposed

In yesterday’s dig post we showed you the outline of Manchester Dock with its two sets of docks gates. Well yesterday archaeologists set to work uncovering those original gates which are still in situ. Most of the timbers survive, some of which are up to 0.3metres thick and hardwood, probably Greenheart (a very hardwood often used in dock construction).

More images from yesterday, including the depth marker from the dock, can be found on our Flickr page. Read more…

Dig at the dock – week 4

31 January 2007 by Karen

an aerial view of a clered urban site, showing areas of brick building foundations and infilled docks

A bird’s eye view of the footprint of the new museum on the waterfront

It’s been a bit windy lately so the going has been a tad rough down at the dock. For the past two weeks archaeologists have been working hard to remove the tarmac which once covered the car park at Mann Island on the waterfront (that’s the River Mersey at the top right of the image). A 62 metre high mobile access platform was then brought in to give a unique bird’s eye view of the dock and its associated yards and structures. The photographs (which include this one) will be used to produce a detailed plan/drawing of the area using computer software. Read more…

Dig at the dock – day 4

11 January 2007 by Karen

Realise I told you last week that the dig was starting on 4th January but there was a bit of a delay, so today is officially day 4 and already we can see something. Archaeologist, Mark Adams, fills us in (as opposed to excavating the dock…never mind)

the large dressed stones of a dock wall can be seen in amongst rubble where tarmac has been removed

The top of the south wall to the entrance lock is exposed.

“Removal of the tarmac to expose archaeological deposits has continued this week despite frequent bouts of heavy rain and strong winds. Much of the upper surface of the entrance lock has now been exposed and some of the iron fittings for the lock gates are also visible. Work on revealing the surrounding quaysides is now in progress and has already found structures such as bases for cranes and basements belonging to dock buildings.”
Read more…

Dig at the dock – first day of the dig

8 January 2007 by Sam

Archaeologists in action

Rob Philpott and Anis Price examine the lastest discovery

Karen introduced our head of archaeology Rob Philpott on the blog last week in a post about the excavation of the site for the new Museum of Liverpool. Today was the first official day of the dig, so I donned a hard hat and high visibility jacket to visit Rob and his team in action on the site.

Although relatively little of the tarmac covering the site has been removed so far, the team have already found the entrance to the original Manchester Dock. While I was there volunteer Anis Price uncovered the metal from the top of the dock gates, which she is pointing out to Rob in the photograph above. Some original cobblestones had also been exposed and we were starting to see the base of settings for cranes and other dock machinery. Read more…

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We try to ensure that the information provided on our blog is accurate and that appropriate permissions to use images have been sought. The opinions in each blog are very much those of the individuals writing.