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OUT OF MIND » TRUTH IN CONSPIRACY THEORIES? » HISTORIES MYSTERIES » Medieval castle tower not seen for 450 years uncovered

Medieval castle tower not seen for 450 years uncovered

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Medieval castle tower not seen for 450 years uncovered
Published on December 22, 2021
Written by chroniclelive.co.uk

Medieval castle tower not seen for 450 years uncovered Auckland-Castle-excavations-338x450

A team of archaeologists from Durham University have uncovered the remains of Auckland Castle’s medieval tower that has not been seen for over 450 years.

The university’s archaeology department worked in partnership with archaeologists and volunteers from the Auckland Project to uncover secrets beneath the lawns of County Durham’s Auckland Castle near Bishop Auckland.
The team uncovered the cellar of a large tower thought to have been three or four stories high and dating back to the mid-1300s.
Supported by Durham University students, the team and volunteers also discovered the supports for a bridge and entryway into a medieval castle from the 1100s.
Professor Chris Gerrard from Durham University’s Department of Archaeology said:
“We were delighted to find the striking steps of the tower, which have been remarkably well preserved. We also discovered the walls of the cellar, which includes the remaining of a ceiling, a barrel vault which would have curved over the heads of those standing on the medieval floor beneath.
We conducted substantial research on the sections found and were able to discover that the tower suffered a series of structural failures when the building had to be repaired due to collapse or subsidence.
The fascinating thing about Auckland Castle is that, until recent excavations, we didn’t know much about its medieval layout.
The documentary sources are patchy for this period, and we only begin to find images of the site from the late 1600s. Through this excavation we have gained a huge amount of knowledge about the layout and extent of the medieval complex.”
The project at Auckland Castle is one of the largest excavations of a bishop’s house anywhere in Europe.
It is thought that the tower would have dominated the surrounding countryside, and would have been visible for miles around.
Durham University experts say it would have given the household a grandstand view of the landscape across the bishop’s park, with its animals, fishponds, woodland and rivers.
Also uncovered in the dig were a number of interesting artefacts, including a jetton – or ‘reckoning counter’ – dating from 1350-80, which was found in one of the basement rooms of the tower.

Medieval castle tower not seen for 450 years uncovered Auckland-Jetton

Image: Alexander Jansen, Department of Archaeology, Durham University
It would have been used as a counter on a large board to help with addition and subtraction – a bit like a medieval abacus.
A silver penny from the reign of Henry VI was also discovered. The coin would have been minted by the Bishops of Durham between 1427-30, and would have paid for a gallon of ale or a couple of dozen eggs.

Medieval castle tower not seen for 450 years uncovered Auckland-Castle-Penny

Image: Alexander Jansen, Department of Archaeology, Durham University
Dr Caroline Smith, an archaeologist working for The Auckland Project, added:
“This small coin tells a big story about how important and influential the Bishops of Durham were during the medieval period.
Most bishops did not have the same powers or freedoms as the Bishops of Durham, who could mint coins, levy armies and hold law courts alongside their religious role.
The jetton is also an important discovery as it not only tells us that the building was demolished sometime after the date of the coin, but it gives us a tangible connection to the people who would have controlled the acquisition and management of goods and resources at this site.”
The tower and bridge discovered by the team at Durham University and The Auckland Project have since been reburied, in order to preserve their features.
John Castling, Archaeology and Social History Curator at The Auckland Project, adds:
“It’s a site that has been welcoming visitors and impacting upon the local community for almost a millennium, and we’ve had hundreds of visitors stop and speak to us about what we’re finding.
In some ways, it’s a real shame that once we’ve completed the excavation work, we have to rebury them. But we have to balance the desire to show people the Castle’s past alongside preserving the town’s history. Once we’ve gained all the information we can from having these amazing finds exposed, we need to rebury them as if they remain exposed to the elements, the walls could start to collapse.
We’re working towards being able to display information and objects from these excavations, so visitors will be able to see the results of our discoveries in years to come.”
The excavations conducted by the team this year, form part of a wider project which previously exposed the lost late 13th century chapel of Bishop Bec.
The onsite work at Auckland is co-funded by the University of Durham, the Mick Aston Legacy Fund and The Auckland Project. It has been undertaken by Archaeological Services Durham University, Durham University Archaeology department, The Auckland Project and Auckland Castle volunteers. Further work will continue at the site in 2022.
See more here: chroniclelive.co.uk

https://principia-scientific.com/medieval-castle-tower-not-seen-for-450-years-uncovered/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email
Thanks to: https://principia-scientific.com



  

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