09/09/2020 - Permalink

Shrewsbury Castle Dig Day 5

Related topics: Community / Leisure, culture and heritage

Dig day number 5 bought with it some lovely weather, just a little wind and plenty of sunshine.

Our objective today was fairly straightforward; to continue downward in the trench to the depth of the glasshouse floor, exposing the tiles.

There has been a lot of builders backfill coming out of the trench today, with a huge amount of what seems to be potentially either a bathtub or urinal used as rubble. One of our eagle-eyed student volunteers has spotted a maker’s stamp on the porcelain and so is hoping to establish the company and what this feature may be in the coming days.

The dig site at Shrewsbury Castle.

In the finds tent, the sorting crew have been washing and tagging the various objects coming up from the trench. There is a running theme of animal bones, oyster shells and the odd beer and medicine bottle, which suggest casual waste disposal. Plenty of glass fragments need to be handled carefully and we have the familiar clay pipe stems. We had the chance to take a closer look at two trays of metal hardware from our glasshouse, ranging from small nails to brackets, hinges and hooks.

The finds table proved very popular with visitors to the Castle, folks from Worcester and Coventry having made special visits to come and see the wonderful work being done after seeing the dig advertised in the media. We also welcomed many locals and young families, all craning to take a look at what was being discovered. There is a fantastic public enthusiasm for this work, and it seems the spirit of discovery has motivated many people to make return visits to check on the progress of the dig.

Overall a productive day, the trench has now been excavated and cleared out to the level of the greenhouse floor, with the steps, back and front wall exposed. The breadth and depth of the lime mortar pit has also been established, some of the lime was still wet!

After recording and photographing this feature in full tomorrow, Dr Baker hopes we will be ready to begin further excavation beyond the floor in search of the much earlier medieval chapel ruins which can be seen on the 16th Century Burghley Map of Shrewsbury.

Zoe Arthurs on behalf of all the volunteers at the Shrewsbury Castle Dig.