28 September 2018

Department of Geography helps to unearth the secrets of Sheffield Castle

Professor Mark Bateman and Mr Rob Ashurst of The University of Sheffield’s Geography department were called in this week to help with researching the history of Sheffield Castle’s remains.

Virtual representation of Sheffield Castle

Professor Mark Bateman and Mr Rob Ashurst of The University of Sheffield’s Geography department were called in this week to help with researching the history of Sheffield Castle’s remains.

Built in the 13th century, Sheffield Castle was perhaps most famous as one of the prisons used to hold Mary Queen of Scots. It was thought to have been demolished by Parliamentarians in 1648 and has been hidden under the city ever since.

As part of the Castlegate redevelopment, Wessex Archaeology have been excavating some of the Castle remains. Demolition of the 1960s market and the 1920s fish market buildings has revealed earlier slaughterhouses and grinding wheels on the site, and beneath this, parts of the medieval castle which was once the centre of Sheffield.

Dating the exact timing of castle construction and piecing together the fragments of walls, gatehouse and moat is proving challenging. It is hoped that the new application of portable luminescence technology by Professor Bateman to create signal profiles of different sediment layers will enable a relative chronology to be established.

The castle was recently the subject of an collaboration between the Department of Archeology, the Department of Computer Science and the School of Architecture as part of Festival of the Mind.

More info about the castle’s history can be found from the Friends of Sheffield Castle Group.

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