Digging up the Past:

David Keys looks at the latest archaeological projects taking place in Sheffield and Liverpool.


One of Britain’s greatest historic monuments – a massive, but almost totally forgotten medieval castle – is being re-discovered beneath what is usually seen as one of the country’s least historic cities. New research suggests that the fortress under Sheffield city centre was in medieval times among the largest in England – almost as massive as the Tower of London itself; although not a single picture or map of it has survived.

Excavations and other archaeological investigations carried out by Sheffield University over recent months have revealed the remnants of huge buildings – one of which had walls almost two metres thick. The archaeologists suspect that this latter structure was the massive stone castle’s multi-story great banqueting hall where its late thirteenth-century builder, one of Henry III’s most loyal supporters, Thomas de Furnival, would have entertained royalty and fellow barons.

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