2021 Dig Season Update: research focus, booking info and staff applications.


As you may know we intend to run our field school this year from 4th September – 24th September (we may add a further week if demand exceeds expectation).

We do think this is far enough in the future to take bookings without feeling too much pressure to react to every variation in the current government roadmap. That said, we very much recognise that any plans will of course be subject to alteration if the situation demands it, so we will be offering full refunds in the case of the need to cancel. This should allow you to book with some confidence that any deposit or payment in full is safe.

If you would like to find out more about the field school and/or book a place please visit our website here: BRP Field School

Upstanding medieval masonry outside St Oswald’s Gate

Staff Applications

The BRP is currently advertising for staff to join us during the 3 week excavation. You can find out more information here: Staff Positions for the 2021 Field School

What is the current focus of the field school?

This season we are excavating and surveying at St Oswald’s Gate and in the area of the medieval outworks that still stand beyond it. This is the only area of the castle that remains significantly a medieval ruin!

Area of focus for the 2021 excavation season

The outworks beyond St Oswald’s Gate are a complex multi-phase set of substantial structures dating from the medieval to post-medieval date. Sited to contain a well and to dominate a small harbour serving the castle that is known to have been in use up to the middle 13th century. The surviving outworks represent a rare case of unreconstructed early masonry that is is available to study without the issues of dealing with extensive later alteration and refacing.

This area of the castle provides and ideal opportunity to undertake survey and phasing of the build in conjunction with
excavation to identify further traces below ground. The earliest elements are likely to be 12th century in date with a number of phases of later medieval alterations and additions. The medieval outworks were later incorporated into 18th century structures that included a cottage built into a medieval tower that is known to have survived into the 20th century but is now lost under ivy.

What type of work will we be undertaking?

Excavation will aim to recover currently buried foundations or traces of the robbing of walls, as well as early ground surfaces and dating evidence for the phases of build and use. In addition to excavation, we intend to undertake a detailed 3D survey and structural recording exercise and process this as part of our post excavation work. We will use GIS and some CAD programmes for this as a teaching opportunity. The aim will be to create a stone by stone series of elevations from rectified photography. There is a possibility, if time and resources allow, that some degree of consolidation work may be undertaken to preserve any revealed masonry in consultation with the castle staff.

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