WELL-KNOWN TV archaeologists have joined students to see if they can dig up some dirt on Berkeley Castle’s torrid past.
Under the supervision of Prof Mark Horton, from BBC TV’s Coast [and remember ‘Bonekickers??], and Dr Stuart Prior from Channel 4’s Time Team, undergraduate students from the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Bristol have been excavating archaeological remains from the grounds of Berkeley Castle.
The Berkeley Castle Project (BCP) is a long-term archaeological research project, which was launched in early 2005, with the castle as the focus of its fieldwork.
The BCP study areas for 2009 comprise Nelme’s Paddock, The Edward Jenner Museum Garden [*] and St Mary’s Churchyard, but has also expanded into the beer garden of The Berkeley Arms.
Prof Horton said: “It is so exciting to be doing such a major project at Berkeley – every day reveals something completely new and unexpected, and we are able rewrite the history of the castle, the town and its anglo-saxon antecedants.”
So far in Nelme’s Paddock, the largest of this year’s sites, Prof Horton has identified a suite of medieval buildings, with a central hearth with a series of small rooms.
“This could be medieval workshops, as we have found evidence of industrial activity, but we’ve also found pottery, which indicates some residential use too,” he said.
In addition a treasure of artefacts have been found such as Anglo Saxon coins dated between 694-750 AD, dress hooks and buckles from the same period, as well as Roman coins from the 2nd to 4th century.
This year’s dig finishes on Friday, but the University of Bristol will be returning to the sites in July with Summer School students.