As work on the new Undercroft progressed, other excavations by York Archaeological Trust unearthed further evidence on the Roman roots beneath York Minster.
A section of Roman road was discovered, believed to have been a backstreet and part of the Via Quintana which ran behind the Roman basilica under which the medieval Minster now sits.
The backstreet was used for hundreds of years as a route between the Basilica and the Praetorium and was frequently patched and repaired, falling into disuse at the same time as the Basilica itself
Evidence of a Roman barracks on the site where the Minster now stands had already been discovered in the 1960s and 70s, when excavations were carried out as part of emergency works to prevent the central tower from collapsing. The undercroft itself was created during these works, when foundations were dug out and vast concrete blocks used to underpin the tower.
The Dean of York, the Very Reverend Vivienne Faull commented, “While it was not as grandly paved as the main streets of Roman York, you can imagine that this backstreet, situated as it was between the Basilica and the Praetorium, was exactly the kind of place where the real business of the Empire was done. It probably even witnessed the very first Christians on their way to worship.”