Jane Grenville, Archaeologist

I was born and brought up in Belper, Derbyshire, and went to school in Cheltenham! Cheltenham Ladies College was a miserable experience socially, but was excellent academically, and I was able to get into Girton College, Cambridge to read Archaeology. I was interested in the subject from a very young age. My father used to take me on trips to Dorchester, and he used to leave me to wander round the museum. I remember he bought me the I-Spy book of Archaeology there, when I was about seven, and I was hooked.

The place I have chosen at the King’s Manor is my favourite because it exemplifies the kind of archaeological puzzle which fascinates me, and the kind of archaeology in which my department has something of a reputation. Most people think of archaeology as being concerned with what is under the ground, and of course in York we have wonderful examples of excavations revealing thousands of years of human habitation.

However the archaeology of a building begins with its first alteration, and usually when alterations are made the builders are at pains to ‘hide the joins’. They have not been very successful with this arch, which is clearly deformed. The King’s Manor was a state of the art structure when it was extended for the Council of the North In the early 17th century. We can only make informed guesses as to why there is this unhappy change of radius. My feeling is that the builders changed their minds about the sequence of rebuilding after a collapse.

My Place is a section where people share places that are significant in their livesIf you would like to take part in My Place, simply email your photo and a text of up to 250 words to johnbrucemullin@hotmail.com

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