Wales dig unearths 800 year old town defences

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Eight hundred year old defences that once protected medieval Flint have been discovered during an archaeological dig in Flint. The excavation at Coleshill Street has also unearthed pottery dating back to the 17th century and a tobacco pipe thought to be from the 19th century.

Wales dig unearths 800 year old town defences
Archaeologists Pete Spencer and Heidi Archer looking for 
ancient artifacts [Credit: Daily Post]

Experts from Archaeology Wales have been working at the former maisonnette site for the last fortnight ahead of the town centre’s major redevelopment. A team of archaeologists will be on-site until the end of August and hope to find even more artefacts dating back to the 13th century.

Flint Castle and the fortified town were the first to be built in Wales by Edward I of England in 1277. The town was enclosed by double banks and ditches to protect it from Prince of Wales Llewelyn ap Gruffydd’s troops.

Archaeology Wales project manager Kate Pitt told the Daily Post: “The site is known to be within the medieval town and across the site we’ve got the 13th century bank and ditch from Edward’s defended town linked to Flint Castle.”

Initially the site was cleared using a JCB before archaeologists began to meticulously dig the trenches by hand.

Wales dig unearths 800 year old town defences
Chris Smith, site supervisor pretends to smoke a 1850’s pipe 
found at the site [Credit: Daily Post]

Kate said: “It appears that the ditch is cut quite steeply downwards, as you would expect for a defensive ditch, making it much harder to cross and attack the town. The lower fills of the ditch are of red sandy-silt clay, which may indicate the ditch was filled with tidal water, similarly to the moat around Flint Castle itself.”

Other finds have included shards of 17th pottery that Kate believes may have been from serving dishes as well as a tobacco pipe dating back to around 1850, which when cleaned will go on display at museums.

Kate said: “So far we’re half way down digging the ditch and have some 17th century pottery and tobacco pipe. It’s been really nice to get some finds because that allows us to date the deposits. It will all be cleaned and catalogued and will eventually go to the museum with the report of what we’ve found.”

Kate added: “It’s quite rare to for us to get to have a look at such a large area of the town all in one go. It is a very exciting opportunity and we’ve also had lots of people walking by asking us what we’re doing and what we’ve found which has been really nice too. We’re going to be going down further over the next week hoping to get back deposits from the 1200s.”

Author: Sarah Hodgson | Source: Daily Post [May 29, 2015]