An archaeological dig taking place alongside a new housing development in Thorne is set to enter its final stage.
Regeneration specialist Keepmoat and Housing & Care 21 are constructing an £8.5million Extra Care development on waste land next to the medieval castle mound on Church Street, in partnership with Doncaster Council. As part of the build process, archaeologists are investigating the site to learn more about the history of the area.
The investigation has uncovered evidence of the post-medieval period, including building foundations, wells and animal burials, as well as fragments of pots, pipes, and glassware left behind by former residents of the site.
However, the team have yet to find signs of any medieval activity, so will continue their search by excavating a trench across the bank and moat around Peel Hill from Monday 8 May.
The latest dig will form part of proposals, developed in partnership with Historic England, to create a new public space and improved access to the medieval motte for both residents of the new development and the wider community.
Kris Peach, Director of Extra Care for Housing & Care 21, said: “We have been following the archaeological work with great interest. The insights it is providing into the lives of people who used to live on the site are fascinating.
“We are looking forward to the next talk about this work, where as well as looking at the site’s past, we will be on hand to talk about its future, and what the new development on the site will provide for the local community”.
Neil Redfern, Principal Inspector of Ancient Monuments for Historic England in Yorkshire, who has been advising on the works to the monument, said: “Historic England has been very supportive of the housing scheme and we have actively sought to ensure the new accommodation makes a positive addition to Thorne and the land around Peel Hill Motte.
“We really wanted it to form part of the physical and visual landscape of the new housing accommodation so that the residents feel it contributes to making their homes special. The new paths will enhance access to the motte and will offer us the opportunity to explore archaeologically the very origins of the castle.
“We are really pleased Housing & Care 21 and Keepmoat have supported these community open days and talks as they help to build a sense of ownership of the archaeological results and the wider scheme with the community, and will also strengthen community links into the future.”
The investigation of the site is proving fascinating for local people, with 600 followers on the Thorne Motte Dig Facebook page set up to provide updates on the project. Meanwhile, an open day and talk held in March attracted more than 200 people, keen to learn more about Thorne’s history.
A second talk will take place at the St Nicholas Church Hall at 6.00pm on Wednesday 17 May to provide an update on the results of the archaeological investigations, as well as a presentation on the new housing development by representatives from Keepmoat and Housing & Care 21.
Community Archaeologist Jon Kenny has also been visiting schools in Moorends and Thorne to carry out archaeology workshops with students. To find out more about the archaeology project or to arrange a free school workshop with Jon, contact SocialValueAdmin@keepmoat.com