- Episode Description
How to lose a castle. For generations a family of Somerset farmers have been wondering if there was ever actually a castle on top of the hill they call Castle Hill. Records show there was a Norman castle in the area, but they are not clear about exactly where and there are several likely locations. The only answer is for Tony and the Team to dig - once all the kit has been hauled up the steep slopes. The geophysics looks exciting, throwing up almost immediately what looks like the outline of a perfect castle keep. But as the three days progress everything is far from clear.moreless
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Tony: This is Hill is called Castle Hill. Local legend says there may be a castle somewhere in the area possibly dating from the Norman period, and the landowners believe that the lost castle is sitting on top of their hill, waiting to be discovered. But there are no clear written records and no obvious reason why a castle should be here, because there's noting to defend. So was a castle ever built on this site? If so, who built it, and why? As usually we've got just three days to find out. Mind you it's taken me three days just to climb up here.
Mick: Well there we are look, there's Somerset.
Alex: Well there we are look, there's Somerset. Alex: For me it's the sort of strategic significance of this location
Mick: I think that's the thing you know, because that's where the Somerset Levels are, which is boggy and waterlogged for probably 6 months of the year at that time. So anyone coming from the East, from Winchester, from London going down the to the southwest peninsula that way have really got to come through quite a narrow gap
Alex: So this could be controlling that corridor and the kind of traffic that would be coming down here, not just military traffic
Mick: No you've got people who are trading you've got goods moving about but the significance is when an army comes through.
Paul: Raksha what have you got for me?
Paul: Pots! Lots and Lots of them, look at those!
Tony: Remind me. What is the date of the pottery that we've got up here?
Mary-Ann: Tony, it's all mid-twelfth century, nothing from the 11th century which means that it can't be a 1066 conquest castle it has to have come from this King Stephen reign of anarchy
Tony: And if it was an Anarchy castle that was put up in a hurry then that would explain why it's not on the records because it would have been pulled down again really quickly once the anarchy was over
Mary-Ann: And also that's not to say that it wasn't a massive timber structure, they built it to mean it, but it also would explain why there wouldn't have been documentary evidence. People weren't sitting down scribbling notes about what was going on where. It was a pretty chaotic time. The history and the archaeology are actually fitting together.
Tony: Which they don't often do
International Air Dates:
Australia: 26 June 2012
12th Century decorative copper pin
12th Century Spur
13th Century Tripod pitcher