In 2013, the site was the subject of a trial evaluation by Bristol and Region Archaeological Services, which determined that there was a high incidence of preservation of built structures, mainly of 18th and 19th-century date, but also that even within the relatively narrow windows allowed by trial trenching, many different phases could be identified, although relationships were not always clear. The report author noted at the time that the work had:
demonstrated that there are extensive and well preserved structural and other remains across most of the site ... however it should be noted that any excavations in excess of 0.3m below the ground surface are likely to have an impact on buried archaeological remains (Mason 2013, 12).
Under the circumstances, however, as a repeatedly re-used site relatively close to the city centre, the shallowness of the structural preservation was not entirely surprising. It was against this background that excavation of the site, in three targeted areas, and expanding on the potential resource available to the evaluation, was planned and undertaken in the spring of 2014.
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