MEDIEVAL pavement tiles have been carefully conserved to create an architectural display for shoppers at the Westgate Centre.

The new installation in Middle Square at the £440m retail complex was created after the historic artefacts were discovered by Oxford Archaeology staff within the former Greyfriars Cloister nearby.

The Oxford Times: Archaeologists at the dig site in 2016

The discovery of more than 350 tiles formed part of an award-winning archaeological project carried out during the initial stages of construction.

Following the unveiling yesterday Sara Fuge, Development Manager at Westgate Oxford, said: “Oxford is rich in history and culture, and the archaeological dig carried out before construction began unearthed many local treasures dating back hundreds of years.

“Collaborating closely with Oxford Archaeology, Historic England, BDP architects and Cliveden Conservation, we have worked tirelessly to ensure this heritage is reflected at Westgate Oxford.

“Alongside the intricate medieval tiling, we house a number of other works as part of our Art in Westgate programme, which includes unique pieces from some of the most respected artists across Europe including Daniela Schoenbaechler and Rana Begum.”

In 2016 judges of the British Archaeological Awards said they were impressed by the use of drones and volunteers to uncover the medieval friary on the site of the former Westgate multi-storey car park.

They nominated the work for Best Archaeological Project Award after it focused on the remains of the Franciscan friary, which was home to the Greyfriars before they fled England during the Reformation.

Oxford Archaeology then used cutting-edge technology to build a picture of what the site would have looked like in its day.

The Oxford Times:

The tiles are now displayed in their preserved pattern after the excavations revealed extensive remains of the medieval Greyfriars friary, which dates from AD 1244-1538.

All uncovered artefacts were preserved and transferred from the construction site to the Museum of Oxford at the time.

It is believed the tiles were made near Newbury and are of the ‘Stabbed Wessex’ type, whose main period of use was between AD 1280–1350.

The display was completed by the specialist heritage contractor Cliveden Conservation, as part of a project between Westgate Oxford Alliance, BDP architects and a grant from Historic England.

Each of the tiles, which varied from fragments to complete pieces, was carefully assessed and treated.