Oswestry & Border History & Archaeology Group OBHAG
Oswestry Castle Research Project
This year we are excavating two large trenches that partially overlap and greatly extend last year’s trench. The 2015 excavation left a number of questions unanswered which we hope this year’s excavation will help us answer.
How deep is the floor level?
Last year we were excavating material from the large trench we think is demolition rubble from the destruction of the castle with some later material. We did not reach a medieval floor level. This was for safety reasons as a narrow, deep trench increases the risk of the trench sides collapsing. This is bad for the archaeologists excavating in it, but worse, could damage the archaeology! To avoid this, last year’s trench is being extended to allow the sides to be ‘stepped’ to reduce the risk of a collapse. This way we hope to reach the floor level of the castle as it may have been in the middle Ages.
Could this reveal evidence of how the castle was used?
Archaeologists value all finds, but it is often the small everyday items lost or discarded by people that can tell us most about life in the past. We also look for items that can give us a date, such as coins, or things such as pottery that may have been in use for only a short length of time. If we reach a medieval floor layer, these are the sort of things we hope to find.
What was the overall layout of the walls?
By finding the layout of the foundation walls we can create a floor plan of the castle which will help us reconstruct the arrangement of external and internal walls. This will help create a detailed record of what the castle may have looked like, and contribute to decisions about preserving the castle remains for future generations.
Could there be the remains of a tower in the Northwest corner?
We intend to excavate on the outside of the railings to answer this question but sadly this will have to be put off until next year. We will have to close a large part of the pathway around the castle and it would limit public access to the current excavation. We hope to return in May 2017 to continue our investigation.