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Sir Richard Branson’s first Virgin Hotel in Britain has been delayed

Sir Richard Branson’s first Virgin Hotel in the UK has been delayed for a year after archaeologists unearthed artefacts dating back 1,000 years.

The excavation of the building site in Edinburgh uncovered a range of objects and material discovered from the tenth century during groundwork of the hotel.

Objects uncovered in the dig included jewellery, footwear, tools, a drinking vessel, shoes, jewellery, and knives.

The excavation is now complete after lasting more than a year, three times longer than expected, with the hotel scheduled to open in 2021.

 

The building site of the first Virgin Hotel in Britain situated in Edinburgh – which has been delayed for a year after archaeologists at the site unearthed artefacts dating back 1,000 years. Objects uncovered included jewellery and tools. Pictured, inside the India building

WHAT DID THEY FIND AT THE SITE?

Medieval rubbish pits and wells, including barrel lined examples.

A very large finds assemblage including shoes, textiles, tools, knives, jewellery and clothing accessories

A ‘costrel’, which is a traditional early drinking vessel made of leather – see below*

Various projectiles, including a probable 13th century trebuchet ball and an early cannonball.

Extensive remains associated with Medieval industry, in particular tanning, with large quantities of leather and associated waste material recovered

Medieval rubbish pits and wells, including barrel lined examples.

Experts say the remains of buildings found predate Edinburgh Castle and the creation of the town burgh by David I of Scotland by around 200 years. 

The work has also unearthed ditches and walls marking the original boundary of the city and some of the discoveries could date as far back as the Bronze Age. 

The findings are expected to become a major selling point of a stay in Sir Richard’s first hotel in the UK, which will boast 225 rooms and create more than 300 jobs. 

During a 60 week excavation a human skull, a drinking vessel, shoes, jewellery, and knives, along with a ball used in a giant catapult and an early cannonball were discovered at the Cowgate site. 

Hearths, wall panel, structural timbers, rubbish pits and wells have been unearthed during the dig.

The plans for the hotel at the India Buildings on Victoria Street and an adjacent gap site were announced in February of last year, with a 2020 opening date. 

Experts say the remains of buildings found predate Edinburgh Castle and the creation of the town burgh by David I of Scotland by around 200 years. Pictured, a medieval gaming dice was uncovered during the excavation

Experts say the remains of buildings found predate Edinburgh Castle and the creation of the town burgh by David I of Scotland by around 200 years. Pictured, a medieval gaming dice was uncovered during the excavation

The work has also unearthed ditches and walls marking the original boundary of the city and some of the discoveries could date as far back as the Bronze Age. A leather water or wine pouch from a 15th Century well was recovered

The work has also unearthed ditches and walls marking the original boundary of the city and some of the discoveries could date as far back as the Bronze Age. A leather water or wine pouch from a 15th Century well was recovered

The building site of the first Virgin Hotel in Britain situated in Edinburgh - which has been delayed for a year after archaeologists at the site unearthed artefacts dating back 1,000 years. The plans for the hotel at the India Buildings on Victoria Street

The building site of the first Virgin Hotel in Britain situated in Edinburgh – which has been delayed for a year after archaeologists at the site unearthed artefacts dating back 1,000 years. The plans for the hotel at the India Buildings on Victoria Street

But Virgin Hotels said work would finally begin at the site ‘within weeks,’ with the aim of the hotel now opening in 2021. 

Edinburgh City Council archaeologist, John Lawson said: ‘This has been one of the most significant urban excavations ever undertaken in Scotland. 

‘We have found everything we could have probably hoped to find on an excavation like this – there was basically 1000 years of archaeology on the site. 

‘The full analysis and research has still to be done, but the results of the work have been tremendous, in terms of scale and quality, and the quality of preservation is outstanding. 

‘For the first time ever, we have found a series of buildings which pre-date the formation of the medieval town in the 12th century. 

The plans for the hotel at the India Buildings on Victoria Street and an adjacent gap site were announced in February of last year, with a 2020 opening date. But Virgin Hotels said work would finally begin at the site 'within weeks'. Pictured: Sir Richard Branson

The plans for the hotel at the India Buildings on Victoria Street and an adjacent gap site were announced in February of last year, with a 2020 opening date. But Virgin Hotels said work would finally begin at the site ‘within weeks’. Pictured: Sir Richard Branson

Hearths, wall panel, structural timbers, rubbish pits and wells have been unearthed during the dig, which took around three times longer than initially anticipated by the Virgin team working on the project

Hearths, wall panel, structural timbers, rubbish pits and wells have been unearthed during the dig, which took around three times longer than initially anticipated by the Virgin team working on the project

‘There are a great sequence of layers on the site which almost tell the story of Edinburgh in microcosm.’ 

Raul Leal, chief executive of Virgin Hotels, said: ‘We always knew India Buildings was a special place and a very special development, though I’m not sure we could have guessed just how amazing it really is.

 ‘A unique insight has been gained into life in Edinburgh and the city’s development over nearly 1000 years. 

‘We will look at ways we can inform our guests of the rich history beneath the rooms in which they sleep.’ 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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