A new attraction in York has proved a resounding success.
'Revealing York Minster' opened on Saturday. It delves two thousand years into the history of the building, and has been credited with causing an eight per cent increase in visitors over the bank holiday weekend.
Doors open today to the 'Revealing York Minster' exhibition. The chambers below the cathedral floor are housing artefacts charting the 2000 year history of the building.
The space beneath the tower was dug out in the 1970s to help stabilise the tower which was in danger of collapsing. Archaeological digs have now helped to map out more clearly the history of the site including the previous buildings which stood there. The historical finds are now on display.
Finishing touches are being made to a new exhibition at York Minster which from this weekend will show the building's 2000 year history.Read the full story ›
Finishing touches are being made to a new exhibition which shows off the 2000 year history of one of our region's most famous buildings. It is contained in a series of a chambers underneath York Minster.
The displays show off the archaeological remnants of buildings that used to stand on the site and use the latest technology to show how that has transformed into the famous building that stands there today. Our reporter James Webster has been for a preview.
York Minster's most senior archaeologist says the team have learned more about the site's history thanks to digging which has taken place in the new conversion of the Undercroft. Stuart Harrison has been examining finds from below the surface and making sense of what it tells them about the history.
The new exhibition at York Minster is housed in chambers that were hastily dug in the 1970s during emergency work to stabilise the tower following subsidence. This time, there has been more time for careful archaeological work. Ian Milsted carried out those excavations:
Rare artefacts found below York Minster as well as other treasures collected over the centuries that are still used today, form part of the exhibition below ground at the Minster. The Horn of Ulf takes pride of place and as Collections Manager Vicky Harrison explains, it has special significance.
Many aspects of York's development are documented in the new Undercroft exhibition at the city's Minster including:
- The Romans (71-410AD) - From the first barracks to Constantine the Great who ruled the Roman Empire from York. Glass floors show Roman walls below visitors' feet.
- The Anglian and Anglo-Saxons (410-866AD) - Following the Roman withdrawal new archaeology shows the city thriving with a Royal Mint.
- The Vikings (From 866AD) - The land is gifted to the church by a Viking lord Ulf whose elephant tusk horn is now on display.
- The late Saxons and early Normans - The building of the first Minster whose foundations are still visible.
- The present day - York Minster regarded as an international icon.
The final section of the Undercroft is the Treasury where original ceremonial items that have been collected over centuries and which are still used today are put on the display.
The new Undercroft at York Minster, which opens on Saturday 25 May, has been partly paid for by a £10.5m donation by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Spokesperson Fiona Spiers has been checking on progress as finishing touches are made and says the new space is much more inviting than what it replaces.
The Dean of York says she hopes that visitors to the new Undercroft at York Minster will learn something about themselves from it. The Very Rev Vivienne Faull, was only appointed last year, says the complicated nature of the below ground chambers echo the complex history of the building.