Archaeologists Digging At Lincoln Castle Uncover Early Christian Community

Lincolnshire County Council

Archaeologists excavating at Lincoln Castle have discovered the remains of an early Christian community, according to a Lincolnshire County Council press release.

The team, which was digging inside the castle to clear the way for an elevator shaft, found the remains of a church that dates back at least 1,000 years. Inside a sealed niche in the wall they found human bones. They had been wrapped in finely woven cloth and while the cloth has long since disappeared, it left its impression on the surrounding mortar. Excavators theorize that these may be the remains of a holy person, as it was common to put relics in church walls and altars in order to make them holy.

An even older find included several skeletons and a stone sarcophagus. The archaeological team is planning to put an endoscopic camera into the coffin to see what’s inside without disturbing it.

%Gallery-188672%Both the cemetery and church date to the Anglo-Saxon period, when England was a patchwork of different kingdoms before the Norman conquest. Lincoln had been a walled Roman town. The Romans left Britain in the early fifth century and were soon replaced by Anglo-Saxons coming from Denmark and northern Germany. They took up residence in Lincoln and many other Roman towns.

The present castle was built by the Normans in 1068 on the foundations of a Roman fort. William the Conqueror, after defeating the English King Harold Godwinson at Hastings in 1066, built this castle to control the important town of Lincoln and its surrounding area. While the castle has been modified over the centuries, it’s still one of the best-preserved Norman castles anywhere.

The typical Norman castle has a tower on an artificial mound at the center and with a wall encircling it. Lincoln Castle has two mounds, each with its own fortification and a long wall encircling them both. This tough fortification was besieged twice. The second time, in 1216, was during the Baron’s War, which led King John into making concessions to the nobility in the form of the famous Magna Carta. One of the original copies is on display here.

Back in 2010, an earlier excavation uncovered a secret tunnel at Lincoln castle. Excavations continue at in the castle grounds.

If you visit the castle, also check nearby Lincoln Cathedral, a beautiful Gothic building from the 11th century.

Mystery tunnel discovered at Lincoln Castle

Lincoln Castle, castle, castles, England, archaeology, LincolnshireArchaeologists excavating at Lincoln Castle in England have discovered a mysterious tunnel under the courtyard. The tunnel is linked to a circular structure of unknown use and delves into the ground. The archaeological team hasn’t finished its work or discovered where the tunnel leads.

Europe has many traditions of hidden tunnels connecting buildings or going to secret caves or hideouts.

The excavation is taking place in preparation for building an elevator to allow handicapped access to the walls. The archaeologists believe the structure and tunnel could date to the early 12th century. It’s the only medieval building to have been found inside the castle’s bailey.

Lincoln Castle is a well-preserved Norman castle built in 1068 on the foundations of an earlier Roman fort. William the Conqueror, after defeating the English king at the Battle of Hastings in 1066, built this castle to control the important town of Lincoln and its surrounding area. The structure has been added to over the years but remains an excellent example of Norman architecture.

[Photo courtesy user Rodhullandemu via Wikimedia Commons]

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