Sheffield Castle community archaeology project - call for volunteers
The medieval castle that was once the prison of Mary Queen of Scots is to be the subject of a community archaeology project by Wessex Archaeology this summer. Find out how you can get involved.
The project aims to discover the state of preservation of the 13th-century castle as part of Sheffield Council's Kickstart regeneration programme.
Working alongside professional archaeologists, volunteers will have the opportunity to develop archaeological investigation skills and share the excitement of piecing together Sheffield’s medieval past and its industrial heritage.
Mary Queen of Scots and Sheffield Castle
Mary Queen of Scots arrived at Sheffield Castle in South Yorkshire on 28 November 1570, aged 27; the medieval castle proved a formidable prison and its cold, damp conditions caused health problems for the queen and her companions. Despite the strict conditions of her imprisonment, she was kept in luxurious style, with 16-course meals served to her, as historian David Templeman revealed last year.
Castlegate, in which the remains of Sheffield Castle stands, is the historic place of origin of Sheffield as a settlement. A castle, bridge, market and houses are known to have existed here since at least the Norman Conquest and possible before.
Castleate was at the centre of local government, law and order, trade, transport and hospitality until late into the 20th century but the area been in decline for many years due to the loss of a distinctive economic role. It does, however, remain a main gateway into the city centre and forms the setting of, or route to and from, most of Sheffield’s central hotels.
There are several ways to get involved in the Sheffield castle dig:
This opportunity is open to everyone from experienced amateurs to complete beginners. There are several ways to be involved:
- The Dig
The dig will run Monday – Friday, 0830 – 1600. Volunteers slots in August are already booked up but places are still available in September and up to 5 October.
- Post-Excavation Investigation
Post excavation cleaning and sorting of finds will take place Monday – Friday, 0930 – 1430, for 6 weeks, from August 28 to October 5. This will take place at Wessex Archaeology's Sheffield office.
- Site Open Days
Wessex Archaeology will be hosting site open days as part of the nationwide Heritage Open Days and Big Draw initiatives.
These open days will take place on the 8 to 9 September and 6 to 7 October. On 6 October, visitors to the site can meet with artists using the site as inspiration for their work.
(image copyright loco steve)