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This stone column from the 4th century Roman principia (headquarters building) was found in 1969 during excavations beneath the south transept of York Minster.
During a programme of works to strenghten the Minster's foundations, the remains of eight pairs of columns were found. Experts believe that they originally formed an arcade within or alongside the basilica (great hall) of the principia, which lay at the heart of the Roman legionary fortress. At some point during antiquity, one of the columns had fallen onto its side and this probably hid the stone, thereby preventing it being carried away for re-use elsewhere. This made it feasible to reconstruct the column in Minster Yard as part of celebrations to mark the 1900th anniversary of the city's foundation in 1971.
The cylindrical column is made from gritstone and is approximately 9.5 metres tall (including its base and capital). The sections built-up from reddish-brown clay tiles (featured in Image 2 and visible in Image 1) replace original stonework that was either missing completely, or was too badly damaged to allow it to be safely re-used.
The structure is now Grade II listed.