AN ARCHAEOLOGIST has spoken about a discovery which revealed that Worcester is about 500 years older than previously thought.

James Dinn, archaeological officer at the city council, spoke to the Worcester News about a discovery, some years ago, on a site south of the Cathedral on Severn Street belonging to King’s School, which was at the time being made into a sports facility.

They found an iron age fort underneath the medieval Worcester castle and samples sent for radiocarbon dating showed that the city is 500 years older than initially thought – dating back to 700BC.

Mr Dinn said: “The impact of the discovery was that Worcester is 500 years older than previously thought.

“We are able to work out the age by looking at the earthwork condition.

“What we thought we were going to be looking at is the motte-and-bailey Worcester castle. We didn’t expect the rampart part but it was there because it had always been in use for the Iron Age defence, the Roman defence, then when Worcester was re-found in 680, then when ‘modern Worcester’ began. That was a long time and that earthwork is very visible.”

Speaking on how it was preserved, Mr Dinn said: “It would have been maintained, probably for much of its life, with a palisade or similar on top and also, because there was not a major land use change which would have led people to level off the site and maybe build on it.

“When it was eventually built on, the street levels to either side were fixed as tarmac roads and buildings were built at a higher level facing the main school grounds and a lower level facing Severn Street, so again there wasn’t a pressure to change the levels.”

Before the discovery, it was known that Worcester’s history went as far back as the Romans but not precisely how far back it dated. But the rampart built on the site is dated at about 700BC.

He added: “Discovering Worcester to be 500 years older – that was exciting. I don’t think in future we will find out Worcester is another 500 years older.”

Mr Dinn, who has worked in archaeology all his life, with two decades spent as an archaeological officer at Worcester City Council, said: “A lot of history is shrouded in mystery and people try to put together the pieces to see the bigger picture.

“You start to build up smaller pieces you have – it is very important that you deal with the situation and don’t miss an opportunity when they come up. You think hard about what you think you know then add to that.

“Then you try to work out if what you think you know is actually right.”

He added: “I don’t think people would think Worcester is that much older – maybe if they thought about it they might guess Roman.”

Mr Dinn spoke about previous excavations such a dig in the 1960s below the Lychgate shopping precinct, now Cathedral Square, which uncovered evidence of Romans living in Worcester.

In November, Worcester City Council’s archaeology team, alongside more than 30 volunteers, spent two week excavating a 2,000 year old Roman farmstead at Mab’s Orchard in Trotshill, Warndon Villages.

Excavations have revealed that the site was a busy farmstead dating back at least 1,800 years to the second century AD.

The first signs of the Roman farmstead were discovered in 2006 when a team of archaeologists carried out a test dig at the site and found ditches containing Roman pottery.

The dig was made possible by a grant of £10,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund and additional funds from Worcester City Council and Councillor Andy Roberts’s county council divisional fund.

The land was excavated because the neighbouring Warndon Villages allotments are set to be expanded, following approval by the city council’s planning committee.

Archaeology and geology students from Worcester Sixth Form College and pupils from Hollymount and St Joseph’s primary schools also joined the effort to uncover Worcester’s ancient past.

The archaeology team produced a dig diary at, where details on their finds can be discovered.