Page last updated at 13:20 GMT, Tuesday, 20 April 2010 14:20 UK

Ancient Hereford ditch was 'royal city boundary'

A view of Hereford as a bare earthwork made by digital light image surveying techniques, pic by Herefordshire Council
The image shows how the city would look as an archaeological site

A Bronze Age earth ditch has been found in Hereford which archaeologists say may have been used to mark the city's old tax boundary.

It is 5m (16ft) deep in places and was found using aerial, laser scanning equipment to map the land's contours.

The ditch has been filled in with earth over the years and now resembles only a slight depression at ground level.

It runs from Aubrey Street to the River Wye via King Street and may have marked the limit of the king's jurisdiction.

Site archaeologists said Norman settlements inside the ditch probably fell under the king's jurisdiction and tax district, while land outside of the ditch beside Hereford Cathedral belonged to the bishop.

Dr Keith Ray, Herefordshire's county archaeologist, said digital mapping had also produced images of Hereford by night, which highlight the city's open spaces and dense pattern of narrow alleyways in the historic centre.

He said: "The study concludes that Hereford has one of the best-preserved historic city centres anywhere in England, in which medieval neighbourhoods can still be traced to this day."

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