Community archaeology project starts at Richmond Castle

Richmond Castle. Photo: Dylan Moore.

Archaeologists at Richmond Castle will be aiming to uncover some more of the sites’ fascinating history this summer with the help of the local community.

A community archaeology project will be taking place in the grounds of the castle, with volunteers from the local community being invited to get involved, from today until August 6.

The excavation forms part of the town’s 950 celebrations in partnership with English Heritage and in conjunction with local independent heritage consultancy, Solstice Heritage.

The work, which aims to uncover unknown chapters in the castle’s history, will be examining initial findings made possible by previous geophysical surveys.

The property will be fully open to the public over the period of the excavation so visitors to the castle can watch the archaeology as it happens.

This year the town of Richmond marks 950 years since it was founded and evolved around the Norman Castle.

Members of the Original Richmond Business and Tourism Association have worked with local councils and organisations who have joined in the celebrations over the year with a series of events, activities, talks, exhibitions and even a new beer being brewed.

The community archaeology project is a key element of the celebrations.

It has been made possible with support and funding from Richmondshire District Council, The Castle Studies Trust, Richmond Civic Society and McLuckie Projects as well as Historic England.

The work will be undertaken by local independent heritage consultancy, Solstice Heritage

Dr Mark Douglas, senior properties curator for the North at English Heritage, said: “Sitting high above the river Swale in the centre of the Richmond the castle has been a spectacular and imposing sight since its foundation.

“It is one of the best preserved early Norman Castles in England. Originally built to subdue the unruly North of England it has always been at the heart of the town of Richmond.

“The site has a fascinating history and recent geophysical surveys have thrown up some interesting findings that this project will explore. It is great to be working with the local community and get them involved in uncovering some of the sites past.”

Marcia McLuckie, from the Richmond 950 celebrations committee, said “Despite the global pandemic and the challenges that it has brought to all of us Richmond has really come together as a town this year to celebrate our 950th birthday.

“Within the constraints of the pandemic we have managed to put on a wonderful programme of events and celebrations to be enjoyed by our local community and visitors to our lovely town.

“The castle has always been a key part of our towns history and we are looking forward to uncovering some more of that with this project”

The excavation will be running between the following dates and the site will be open to the public to come and see the dig and what may be uncovered.

  • Monday, July 19 – Saturday, July 24
  • Monday, July 26– Saturday, July 31
  • Monday, August 2 – Friday, August 6

To find out more, visit www.english-heritage.org.uk/richmond-castle

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