Families get a glimpse of a burial ground at Suffolk castle dig

Clare Wootton, post excavation supervisor, with some of the cleaned up artefacts at Clare Castle. Pi

Clare Wootton, post excavation supervisor, with some of the cleaned up artefacts at Clare Castle - Credit: Danielle Booden

On Sunday visitors to Clare Castle were able to get an up-close look at the excavation work that has been underway there over the past three years - including the remnants of a Saxon burial ground. 

An open day at the castle in Clare Country park had a large turnout with families taking the chance to quiz archaeology experts, including Professor Carenza Lewis, who is well known in the field for her work on television show Time Team. 

One of the excavation sites at Clare Castle. Picture: Danielle Booden

One of the excavation sites at Clare Castle - Credit: Danielle Booden

Alongside volunteers, the team from Cotswold Archaeology have been working at the site over the past three years. The current dig has been underway for three weeks with local school pupils and children that are being home-schooled visiting the site. 

Bear Cuthbert, project officer for Cotswold Archaeology, said: "The open day has seen a lot of people come to have a look at the castle, the school children that have been here during the week have brought their parents back to have a look."

Julie and Ira Smith-Adams with some of the artifacts they have found on one of the excavation sites

Julie and Ira Smith-Adams with some of the artifacts they have found on one of the excavation sites at Clare Castle. - Credit: Danielle Booden

The open day allowed families to walk along the trenches around Clare Castle which are not normally accessible to the public.


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They were also able to admire the exciting the discoveries that have been made over the past three years including pottery, bone, and painted window glass believed to be from medieval times. 

Mr Cuthbert said: "Everyone on the site is enthusiastic, you don't get a chance to dig in the grounds of a castle very often. We have had signage up explaining what we have been doing and we have been keeping these up-to-date." 

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The castle is believed to have been built in Norman times, not long after the Battle of Hastings, and the archaeologists working on the site have found evidence of "hundreds of burials".

Mr Cuthbert added: "What we have been digging was there before the castle was built."

The team are investigating whether those that built the castle knew about the burial ground underneath it. 

George Hollyhead and Jess Abby helping clean up artefacts that have been found in various excavation

George Hollyhead and Jess Abby helping clean up artefacts that have been found in various excavation sites at Clare Castle - Credit: Danielle Booden

The burial ground was discovered in the inner bailey of the castle and is around 100 metres by 60 metres in size. 

The Netflix film 'The Dig' released last year has piqued people's interest in archaeological digs in the county, Mr Cuthbert said: "I know lots of people in Suffolk that aren't archaeologists that have watched The Dig and asked me questions about it." 

A volunteer helping dig at one of the excavation sites at Clare Castle. Picture: Danielle Booden

A volunteer helping dig at one of the excavation sites at Clare Castle - Credit: Danielle Booden

Earlier this week a collection of photos taken of the Sutton Hoo ship excavation were digitised and put online for the first time.  

Di Jay sieving through dirt to check for artefacts at Clare Castle. Picture: Danielle Booden

Di Jay sieving through dirt to check for artefacts at Clare Castle - Credit: Danielle Booden






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