A community archaeological dig has uncovered the remains of an 18th-century mill in the grounds of Tamworth Castle, Staffordshire, along with a wealth of Edwardian artefacts.
The four-day community dig was carried out in March at a site near Holloway Lodge at Tamworth Castle, as part of the ‘Revealing Castle Mill’ project.
Launched by Tamworth Borough Council, with funding from the government’s UK Shared Prosperity Fund, the project builds on the success of the first community dig that took place last October at the site where a watermill, possibly dating as far back as the medieval period, was thought to be located.
Tamworth was the principal royal and administrative centre of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia.
In the 1080s, the area was granted to William the Conqueror’s steward, Robert Despenser, who constructed a wooden castle in the typical Norman motte and bailey style. This castle was the forerunner of the present stone building.
During the first investigation, part of a wall believed to belong to the original mill was uncovered, along with numerous finds dating from the mid-1800s to the early 1900s, including bottles, pieces of vases and plates, animal bones, buttons, and clay pottery. These items had been deposited here to level the ground after the mill was demolished around the early 19th century.
The second dig uncovered further evidence of the mill, as the project’s lead archaeologist William Mitchell, from Staffordshire University, revealed: ‘Excitingly, the well-preserved remains of the 18th-century water-wheel pit were exposed, confirming that there is excellent survival of the mill foundations.’
Both digs were free and open to members of the public, and they welcomed a range of volunteers and onlookers of all ages and backgrounds.
‘This dig has again shown the potential for this type of archaeological project in bringing varied groups together and taking learning out into our community,’ said Mr Mitchell.
The artefacts have been taken for cleaning and cataloguing by Staffordshire University students.