Archaeology volunteers uncover the past at Hylton Castle

Local people, including children from Hylton Castle and St Benet's Primary schools, uncovered hundreds of years of history at Hylton Castle this summer, in an archaeological dig prior to works to restore the castle. 

The excavation was a fantastic opportunity to see first hand the layers of history beneath the surface of the castle.  Volunteers uncovered a cobbled surface in front of the gatehouse, used in the 18th century as a turning circle for carriages arriving with guests.  This is depicted on old maps and drawings of the castle, which was by then more like a stately home, but has lain buried for many decades.  In other trenches dug around the castle, volunteers removed layers of earth and stone to reveal medieval floors.  Finds of tiles, pottery, and animal bones were carefully recorded and will be analysed to help build up a picture of what life was like for people living in and around Hylton Castle around 600 years ago. 

Archaeologist Penny Middleton, who ran the excavation, was particularly pleased with the support and enthusiasm of local people to get stuck in to the dig.  Old and young volunteers alike joined in together, learnt new skills, and were able to see artefacts, floors, and walls of Hylton Castle that have lain hidden for centuries.  The children were very excited to get involved, and very interested in how their ancestors lived in the medieval period - it's one thing to learn about castles in school, but being able to find out first hand about the castle on your own doorstep was a very special experience for all involved!

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