Hilary Breck, Wallasey, Wirral

archaeologists working in a huge excavated site by a church

Excavations underway at Hilary Breck, Wallasey

Probably one of the most significant archaeological finds made on the Wirral since the excavation of the Prehistoric, Roman and Early Medieval site at Irby in the 1990s (another National Museums Liverpool project), the photographs below show the excavation of a corn drier or malting kiln dating to the 6th century AD. The find is one of the few excavated corn driers from the North-West of England and has provided some of the only direct evidence we have for agriculture, diet and settlement in Merseyside following the collapse of the Roman Empire.

Specialist analysis of soil samples found large quantities of cereal grains, mainly barley, though some oat and wheat grains were also present.  The samples also contained many charred weed seeds, including many typically found growing alongside crops, such as fat-hen, black-bindweed, pale persicaria, and corn spurry which help to provide a picture of the wider landscape.

excavated stone structure

Early medieval corn-drying kiln

archaeologist by a partly dug up stone structure

Excavation of the early medieval corn-drying kiln