Sunday 21 July 2024
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Newark Castle: Fascinating history revealed in archaeological dig ahead of upgrade work

A trench has been dug in front of the gatehouse of Newark Castle in advance of development of a new visitor centre and ramp access.

A condition of the upgrade works is that the ground must be assessed, and this work has revealed more of Newark’s history.

Supervising Archaeologist Phil Jefferies said:

‘We believe that the stone structure is the earliest part of this development in the past dates back to the late 18th century, early 19th century, and we believe there was a retaining wall for a coal wharf that fronted onto the river.

Barges would have bought coal along the River Trent and then it was offloaded and stored.

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This wall may be part of a stable block and a horse bone and teeth were discovered here.

‘That was a nice thing to find and it does tie in nicely with the area, having had a cattle market on it and the fact that we believe the structure we’re excavating and recording is a stable block.

Bricks exposed to very high temperatures and iron waste probably indicate that blacksmiths were at work here.

More evidence that horses may have been part of the coal operation in the town.

Sarah Clarke, Project Development Manager said:

‘Newark Castle’s been here for around a thousand years, different phases throughout its life, and it’s always been a really important part of our community. We’re learning a lot about the mediaeval period of the castle’s history.

‘We know quite a bit about the late Victorian, but this came before, so this came before the castle gardens were landscaped as you see them today.’

The redevelopment may be carried out in stages over the next two years. It’s still to be decided if this stable wall is to be kept on show or covered up again once the archaeological dig has been completed.

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