Archaeological excavations at Castle Close Sharnbrook, Bedfordshire

Lewis, Carenza and Pryor, Alex (2013) Archaeological excavations at Castle Close Sharnbrook, Bedfordshire. Project Report. Access Cambridge Archaeology.

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19264 Sharnbrook Castle Close Report.pdf
19264 Sharnbrook Castle Close Report.pdf - Whole Document

Item Type:Paper or Report (Project Report)
Item Status:Live Archive


This report details the project design, results and interpretations of archaeological
investigations in August 2013 in the interior of a circular earthwork enclosure, defined on
the HER as a medieval moated site, in Castle Close, Sharnbrook, (Beds HER 994 and
SAM 20404). The excavation was funded jointly by the Heritage Lottery Fund ‘All Our
Stories’ scheme and the Arts and Humanities Research Council R4CH ‘Cambridge
Community Heritage’ programme. The Castle Close project was proposed by Sharnbrook
Local History Group, and developed with guidance from Access Cambridge Archaeology
(University of Cambridge) and English Heritage. The project was conducted as a
community excavation, where volunteers undertook excavations under the supervision of
archaeologists from Access Cambridge Archaeology (University of Cambridge).
Excavation over four days of a 2m2
trench within the circular earthwork exposed a hearth
or oven with associated stoke hole and parts of several other features hinting at the
presence of one or more built structures, all dated by associated pottery to the 12th
century AD. The character of the features appeared to be largely domestic, although
some specialisation is indicated and the presence of a sizeable assemblage of horseshoe
nails supports the suggestion that the site was moderately high-status. Occupation was
short-lived, certainly spanning less than a century and possibly only a decade or so.
The date (12th century) and the form (circular and embanked) are both atypical of moated
sites and the site is now better defined as a small, late ringwork: it may represent a
transitional phase between ringworks and moated sites. Historical records suggest it may
have been the documented ‘bury’ of Trikets manor. The likely context for its construction
is the Anarchy of the early 12th century and it was probably abandoned after Henry II
came to power in 1154 AD.
The 2013 excavation in Castle Close has added to the significance of this site by dating
this unusual circular earthwork and by identifying it as a ringwork rather than an early
moated site. The excavation also gave members of the public living in and around
Sharnbrook the chance to take part in archaeological investigations on a site at the centre
of their community, during which they developed a wide range of practical and analytical
archaeological skills including archaeological excavation, recording, augering and finds
processing. The excavation also provided data which will be able to inform and guide
future conservation, management, interpretation and presentation of the monument in
Castle Close.

Subjects:V Historical and Philosophical studies > V400 Archaeology
Divisions:College of Arts > School of History & Heritage > School of History & Heritage (Heritage)
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ID Code:19264
Deposited On:31 Dec 2015 23:24

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