Archaeology Live! comes to Nottingham Castle
Nottingham Castle will be the scene of a major archaeological dig this summer. Professional archaeologists from Trent & Peak Archaeology and from York Archaeological Trust, working in partnership with Nottingham City Council and Historic England, will be on site to excavate an area in the Outer Bailey, near the bandstand and close to the curtain wall overlooking Castle Road. This area has not been excavated before. The dig will run from 13 July to 14 August.
Called ‘Archaeology Live!’ and taking place during the National Festival of Archaeology, the excavation aims to add to knowledge and understanding of the medieval period in Nottingham. Archaeologists initially expect to find evidence of 19th century gardens and buildings, but it is hoped that deeper layers will reveal evidence of occupation and activities during the Middle Ages, uncovering objects such as pottery and possibly metalwork lost by people living and working during the period.
Volunteers from the local community and trainee archaeologists will be working alongside the professionals to uncover the history of the site. Visitors to Nottingham Castle are very welcome to come along and see what’s happening. Members of staff will be on hand throughout to talk about the dig and how it fits with the planned £24m transformation of the Castle.
Dr Paul Johnson from Trent & Peak Archaeology said: “Nottingham Castle has always been central to the history of the city; from the Norman Conquest and the Civil Wars, through to civil disturbances in the 19th century, this site has seen a lot of action over the years. For an Archaeologist this means that there is the potential to discover some very interesting evidence that will help us better understand the heritage of the area.”
“With this up-coming dig, the people of Nottingham will be able to explore the methods we use to uncover history as they will have a ringside seat to all the action taking place during the dig. There will also be a chance to ask our team of experts questions on archaeology and any finds we discover.”
To complement the archaeological dig, visitors to the Castle are in for a time-travelling treat when Nottingham Castle will be sent back the Middle Ages for a day of Medieval Merriment!
Medieval Merriment takes place in the grounds of Nottingham Castle on Saturday 18 July, 11am to 4pm.
Jointly organised by Nottingham City Council and York-based The JORVIK Group, operators of the world famous JORVIK Viking Centre, the ‘Medieval Merriment’ event promises to catapult visitors back to the middle ages. Activities will include ‘Have-A-Go Archery’, pot making and the chance to meet a Barber Surgeon and discover the more grisly side to medieval medicine.
The event is included in the Castle admission fee and there will be a small charge for some activities.
Sarah Maltby, director of attractions for York Archaeological Trust (YAT), the owners of The JORVIK Group, said: “The Middle Ages are a fascinating time in England’s history, with so many colourful characters and hilarious stories to tell, so we are very excited to bring our ‘Medieval Merriment’ event to Nottingham. We will be sending our team of medieval hosts, who will be on hand to help visitors re-discover the Middle Ages. Special focus will be given to the importance of archery, a vital skill that all English boys had to learn, especially in this, the 600th anniversary of Agincourt.”
Cllr Dave Trimble, Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture, said: “It’s fantastic news that Nottingham Castle will play host to an archaeological dig this summer. The dig provides opportunities for local people to get involved as volunteers, and also to come along as visitors, watch how the dig progresses, and learn about what is discovered and what it tells us about the history of the Castle.
“This project is also of central importance to the £24m transformation of Nottingham Castle over the next five years as it will provide new archaeological evidence about the history of the site which will underpin the project as a whole.
“Finally, I’m sure visitors will enjoy the Medieval Merriment event on Saturday 18 July which will bring the Middle Ages to life, with fun activities for kids and adults alike.”