Dig It! with YAC at Nottingham Castle
A team of trainees will be learning hands-on archaeology at Nottingham Castle this summer, working with archaeologists from Trent & Peak Archaeology. And they would love you to join them on site for a full day as an archaeologist!
Three lucky young archaeologists will be joining the team on Monday 6th August 2018.
During their Dig It! with YAC day our winners will dig, sieve, metal detect, wash finds, and learn other archaeological skills too – in fact, they’ll learn what being an archaeologist is really like!
And that's not all... each of our winners will receive an amazing haversack of archaeological tools from our friends at Past Horizons, complete with their own trowel!
We Dig the Castle 2018
To be in with a chance of winning a full day working with the archaeologists on site at Brewhouse Yard on Monday 6th August just answer this question:
What shells were found in the grounds Nottingham Castle by the 2016 We Dig the Castle trainees? (Hint... read on to find out!)
a) snail, b) oyster, c) tortoise
Email your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org
Remember to include your name, age and address.
Closing date: Monday 30th July
Winners must be free on Monday 6th August 2018, and will need to make their own travel arrangements to the site. More information about the Dig It! with YAC day will be sent to our prize winners on Monday 30th July by both email and first class post. Please ensure you include your postal address in your entry email.
About We Dig the Castle
70 trainees, 10 volunteers, three Dig it! with YAC winners and archaeologists from Trent & Peak Archaeology will be carrying out a brand new archaeological investigation of Brewhouse Yard and parts of the Castle site.
In Brewhouse Yard the team will be carrying out the first archaeological investigation to take place since the 1970s. We’ll be excavating to find the remains of past buildings on the site, including a row of cottages shown in the map of 1677. We’ll also be augering (drilling down to bore holes) to investigate the evidence left at the southern end of the site, which was once on the banks of Nottingham’s River Leen.
The excavation takes place on weekdays from Monday 16 July to Friday 17 August. Members of the public can come along to the gates on Brewhouse Yard to see the dig in action and hear from Explainer volunteers about what's been found and why it matters. You can find us there on weekday mornings until 12.30pm and on Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons at 1-4pm.
About Brewhouse Yard
Brewhouse Yard sites beneath Nottingham Castle, in under the famous Castle Rock. The first Nottingham Castle was built in 1067, on the orders of William the Conqueror, and soon became one of England's most important royal castles.
Very little is known about the history of Brewhouse Yard, particularly before the 17th century, but we do know that it has been a much busier place than it is today. It belonged to the medieval Nottingham Castle and was the site of the Castle's brewhouse and malting offices, and possibly of its water mill. It may also have been used as a landing stage for delivering goods along the River Leen. Goods for the Castle would have been loaded off boats, carried up to the cliff face, and taken up to the top of the cliff through the cave that we now call Mortimer's Hole. Brewhouse Yard
In the 17th century people who were ‘visited’ by contagious diseases such as plague were held here, presumably in the caves. Caves in the rock, and a building, existed by 1610, and more buildings appeared in the 17th and 18th centuries. In the 18th century they included a dye works. As these buildings fell into a poor condition many were demolished in the 18th century, leaving behind their cellars cut into the rock of the cliff that can still be seen today. A wood yard and pumping station and wood yard were later built on the site.
Maps and photos are almost our only record of these early buildings, and we hope that We Dig the Castle will uncover the first real knowledge of those shown in the map of 1677.
About Nottingham Castle
This site has been home to several buildings known as Nottingham Castle. The first was built in 1067, on the orders of William the Conqueror and soon became one of England's most important royal castles. This Castle was destroyed on Parliament’s orders during or soon after the English Civil War, and a magnificent Ducal Palace was built in its place. This was set alight in 1831 by local rioters, and later rebuilt to become the museum and art gallery that we know today.
The outer bailey of the medieval Nottingham Castle was next to the defensive curtain wall and would have supplied the castle with food. Since 2015 it has been the site of the We Dig the Castle training excavation. Led by Trent & Peak Archaeology, Nottingham City Council, and Historic England, We Dig the Castle is the first known archaeological investigation of this part of the castle grounds. In 2015 We Dig the Castle trainees uncovered the first archaeological evidence of 19th century allotments on this part of the site. The 2016 and 2017 trainees excavated the formal gardens of the grand Ducal Palace built for the Duke of Newcastle in 1678. In both years we uncovered a great number of finds – including coins, bottles, oyster shells, clay pipes, medieval and post-medieval pottery, and even a musket shot.