Fish Remains from Excavations near the Riverfront at Newcastle upon Tyne, England

Rebecca A. Nicholson

Department of Archaeological Sciences University of Bradford, Bradford, BD7 1DP, UK.

Cite this as: R.A. Nicholson 1999 'Fish Remains from Excavations near the Riverfront at Newcastle upon Tyne, England', Internet Archaeology 7.


The City of Newcastle, situated some 10 miles inland on the River Tyne in north-east England, is not now an important fishing port. Most of the fresh fish marketed in the city has been landed at the nearby coastal ports of North and South Shields. Excavations at two sites behind the present Quayside in Newcastle, however, have yielded quantities of fish bones, representing a wide variety of species. This is in contrast to excavations in other parts of the city, where few fish remains have been recovered, and suggests that the quayside in Newcastle was an important centre for the fishing industry during the medieval period. It seems likely that most of the fish remains represent waste from landing and processing fish on or near the quayside. Yet, when taphonomic factors are taken into account, the limitations of using even large bone assemblages to interpret processing activities is demonstrated. As always, the need for a programme of on-site sieving to obtain representative samples of fish bone is evident.

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