Ipswich Urban Archaeological Database

black and white map of Ipswich by Speed in 1610

The modern town of Ipswich is built on over 1,000 years of urban activity. The team in the Historic Environment Record (HER) have recently completed a project, funded by Historic England, to enhance the archaeological records in Ipswich.

The Ipswich Urban Archaeology Database (UAD) project has collated and enhanced information relating to archaeological evidence of Ipswich Borough’s historic environment. A UAD is a useful tool to help with the management of complex archaeological centres such as Ipswich and provides information for research and for planning decisions.

The project covered the whole of Ipswich Borough and included Prehistoric, Roman and earlier Anglo-Saxon remains, relating to the contexts in which Ipswich developed, as well as the medieval suburban area and archaeology of the later expansion of the town.

By interpreting this evidence, we can begin to build a picture of the development of Ipswich: Waterlogged remains along the waterfront relate to successive phases of reclamation of the River Orwell. The town has an 8th-century street pattern, a 10th-century defensive circuit and was the centre of an important Anglo-Saxon pottery-making industry producing so-called ‘Ipswich Ware’.

digitally drawn features showing outlines of excavated areas
Butter Market excavations and associated enhanced mapped records

As a result of this project, we have successfully created a map-linked, publicly accessible Urban Archaeological Database for Ipswich. This sits within the Suffolk County Council Historic Environment Record and has a map and subject-based search function.

Find out more about the project and the archaeology of Ipswich here.

Suffolk County Council collaborated with Historic England and Ipswich Borough Council to deliver the project.

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