Help uncover Boston’s 14th century past in archaeological dig

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An artist's impression of a medieval riverside Hanseatic "steelyard."

The search will be on in the spring for the site of Boston’s 14th century Hanseatic warehouse – known as steelyard, or stiliard.

It is believed it was sited next to the river, and was a busy trading centre for merchants from across the North Sea when Boston was at the height of its powers. Boston Hanse Group is planning a big archaeological dig in May, and everyone can be involved.

The Port of Boston was second only to London and merchants from Germanic and Baltic Hanseatic League trading countries sailed into the town with their exotic wares from countries including the present-day Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.

In turn they sailed away from Boston laden with wool. Top-quality English wool channelled into Boston and out through the port as the import-export trade blossomed, and the enormous wealth generated financed grand buildings, such as the Stump and the Guildhall.

No physical evidence of the Hanseatic stiliard now exists, but some remains of it may be down there somewhere. It is also hoped that the big dig may find artefacts from that time.

Free supervision and training will be given to volunteer archaeologists who want to join the dig. All can attend the launch to find out more at the Guildhall at 6pm on Thursday, November 22.

The Heritage Lottery Fund has awarded £66,600 to the community archaeology dig.

In 2015, after a 700-year absence, Boston rejoined the modern Hanseatic League, one of around 200 town and cities from 16 northern European countries.