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Medieval Trash Dump Unearthed at English Castle

Friday, August 9, 2019

England Knife HandleBISHOP AUCKLAND, ENGLAND—According to a report in The Northern Echo, excavations at Auckland Castle in northeast England have unearthed details about the leisure activities of medieval England’s prince bishops of Durham, high-ranking clergymen who also ruled over the territory between the Tyne and Tees rivers. For more than 700 years, the castle served as the bishops' country retreat, where they hunted and hosted guests. Durham University archaeologists have excavated a trash heap in an area that was once the castle’s Great Hall, which yielded evidence of sumptuous feasts. They recovered fragments of goblets, a thirteenth- or fourteenth-century French enameled object, and a seventeenth-century carved bone knife handle, as well as remains of meat and fish. In addition, they have uncovered a parlor, latrine, and stairs that led to to the top of the structure's substantial curtain wall. Supported by buttresses, the 23-foot-high wall appears to have been demolished by the late seventeenth century, affording a clear view of the castle from a distance. For more on English archaeology, go to "Letter from England: Building a Road Through History."

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