Category Archives: ENGLAND

A medieval mural on the wall of a Yorkshire church pays homage to St. George

A medieval mural on the wall of a Yorkshire church pays homage to St. George

Pickering’s St Peter’s and St Paul’s Church has medieval wall paintings, one of which depicts St George killing a dragon, remain among the most complete surviving sets in all of Britain. Now, as today marks the feast of St George, this Roman soldier is honoured once again as a champion of the nation’s sword and a symbol of its lasting might.

Closeup of mural of St. George slaying the dragon at St Peter and St Paul Church, Pickering, England.

Today flags are to be flown across Yorkshire, with trumpeters on standby and bunting strung, incautious and socially distanced celebration of St George’s Day. At the small church in Pickering, where Scouts might normally have paraded under the red and white flag, campaigns call-in donations instead to preserve these cherished jewels.

“This is our country’s patron saint,” said churchwarden Pam Robb, as she reflected on the meaning of the feast day in a year of so much change.

Churchwarden Pamela Robb at St Peter’s and St Paul’s Parish Church in Pickering where medieval frescoes adorn the walls dating from 1450 but were painted over during the reformation in the 16th century.

“It’s the sense of a nation coming together to celebrate that. It reminds us of our heritage, and what people have gone through in the past.

“This is a little window, isn’t it, to a past life and how people lived and grew up,” she added, of the murals themselves.

A medieval mural on the wall of a Yorkshire church pays homage to St. George
The story of other saints is also represented in the mural. Here that of St. Catherine. (Helge Klaus Rieder)

“To think of the generations of people who grew up with these stories, and who would have looked up at these walls, is incredible. It shows perseverance.”

Hidden wall paintings

The Norman church in Pickering, which was rebuilt in the 12th century, stands on the site of an earlier Anglo-Saxon church, of which only part of the font and the stone cross remain.

Medieval Mural on Yorkshire Church Wall Pays Tribute to St. George

The paintings, believed to have been commissioned in around 1450, depict scenes of saints and bible stories, bringing them to life for a congregation that was unable to read.

Under Reformation, many such symbols were hastily destroyed, though the congregation here kept them carefully hidden under a layer of whitewash paint.

With the passing of time, their existence was completely forgotten, until they were rediscovered by the Rev John Ponsonby in 1852, to his utmost dismay.

Decrying the paintings as a ‘ridiculous’ distraction, he had defied the wishes of the then Archbishop of York to have them covered once again, but not before drawings were made.

Some remnants of these drawings remain, with fragments from the original paintings forming the basis for a palimpsest of imagery rare in its antiquity.

A sense of wonder

Today, the church is keen to draw donations following a year where it has seen fewer visitors, with a link here to its website under Rev Gareth Atha. These images, said Mrs Robb, do inspire a sense of wonder.

“People walk in and see these figures, and just stand there in awe,” she said. “There is a little jewel in the crown here, and people don’t realise.

“These paintings were people’s stories until they could begin to be written down.”

City halls and clocktowers in cities such as Bradford and Wakefield are to be lit up in red and white today to mark St George’s Day, while flags are to be flown and bunting hung.

At the outdoor Pontefract Market, professional trumpet player John Barker has been commissioned to play.

“It’s a national day that should be celebrated,” he said. “People appreciate live music, in particular, I think we’ve all come to realise what matters in life.”

17th-Century Mourning Ring Unearthed on the Isle of Man

17th-Century Mourning Ring Unearthed on the Isle of Man

Manx Radio reports that a metal detectorist on the Isle of Man uncovered a piece of jewellery identified as a Stuart-period mourning ring made of crystal and gold inlaid with black enamel at the time of the English Civil Wars (1642–51) and will soon go on view at a local museum.

The accessory, which is inscribed with the initials “JD”—or possibly “ID”—is a mourning ring of the type given out at funerals during the Stuart period (1603–1714). Its sloping sides are adorned with engravings of leaves inlaid with black enamel.

“The ring is small and quite delicate in form, but of a high quality and intact,” says Allison Fox, an archaeologist at Manx National Heritage, in a statement. “The quality suggests that it was made for, or on behalf of, an individual of high status.”

17th-Century Mourning Ring Unearthed on the Isle of Man
James Stanley supported the Stuart monarchy during the English Civil Wars, which pitted Royalists against Oliver Cromwell’s Parliamentarians.

Though Fox points out that researchers may never be able to definitively determine the ring’s origins, she says that it could have been connected with the Stanley family, which ruled as the Lords of Man for more than 300 years.

“The initials JD may refer to James Stanley, 7th Earl of Derby and Lord of Man, a supporter of the Royalist cause in the Civil War,” adds Fox in the statement. “Letters and documents from the time show that he signed his name as J Derby, so the initials JD would be appropriate for him.”

As the Isle of Man’s legislature, Tynwald, notes on its website, Henry IV granted the island to Sir John Stanley I in 1405.

In exchange for their continued possession of the island, the crown demanded that the Stanleys remain loyal and send two falcons to all future kings of England upon their coronations. John’s grandson Thomas—stepfather to Henry VII, the kingdom’s first Tudor monarch—received the title of Earl of Derby in 1485, and the family continued to rule under that title for centuries.

After James Stanley, 7th Earl of Derby was executed in 1651, his wife, Charlotte, worked to preserve his memory.

James Stanley, who was also known as Baron Strange for part of his life, became a Royalist commander in service of Charles I, and later Charles II, during the English Civil Wars, which pitted supporters of the monarchy against Oliver Cromwell’s Parliamentarian forces.

In 1651, Cromwell’s men captured and executed James. His eldest son, Charles, succeeded him. After James’ death, reports BBC News, his wife, Charlotte, worked to ensure that he was not forgotten.

Metal detectorist Lee Morgan discovered the ring while exploring the south side of the island, which is a British dependency located off the northwest coast of England, last December.

The exact location is being kept secret to protect the site. (That same month, noted BBC News in February, a retired police officer on the Isle of Man unearthed a cache of 1,000-year-old Viking jewellery.)

Morgan, for his part, has previously unearthed two other treasure troves: In 2013, he found a horde of silver coins from the 1300s, and in 2019, he discovered a silver ingot dated to between 950 and 1075, during the island’s Viking period.

The Isle of Man’s coroner of inquests, Jayne Hughes, has declared the Stuart ring treasure under the United Kingdom’s Treasure Act. (Current guidelines define treasure very narrowly, but as Caroline Davies wrote for the Guardian in December 2020, the U.K. government is working to expand these parameters to better protect the country’s national heritage items.)

Per the statement, authorities will display the jewellery at the Manx Museum before sending it to the Treasure Valuation Committee, which meets at the British Museum, for review.

Archaeologists discover a medieval skeleton with his boots still on in London

Archaeologists discover a medieval skeleton with his boots still on in London

Archaeologists excavating a site along with the Thames Tideway Tunnel—a massive pipeline nicknamed London’s “super sewer”—have revealed the skeleton of a medieval man who literally died with his boots on.

“It’s extremely rare to discover any boots from the late 15th century, let alone a skeleton still wearing them,” says Beth Richardson of the Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA).

“And these are very unusual boots for the period—thigh boots, with the tops, turned down. They would have been expensive, and how this man came to own them is a mystery. Were they secondhand? Did he steal them? We don’t know.”

Unearthing skeletons amid major construction projects is not unusual in London, where throughout the centuries land has been reused countless times and many burial grounds have been built over and forgotten.

However, archaeologists noticed right away that this skeleton was different. The position of the body—face down, right arm over the head, left arm bent back on itself—suggests that the man was not deliberately buried.

It is also unlikely that he would have been laid to rest in leather boots, which were expensive and highly prized.  In light of those clues, archaeologists believe the man died accidentally and his body was never recuperated, although the cause of death is unclear.

Perhaps he fell into the river and could not swim. Or possibly he became trapped in the tidal mud and drowned.

Sailor, fisherman, or “mudlarker”?

500 years ago this stretch of the Thames—2 miles or so downstream from the Tower of London—was a bustling maritime neighbourhood of wharves and warehouses, workshops and taverns.

The river was flanked by the Bermondsey Wall, a medieval earthwork about fifteen feet high built to protect riverbank property from tidal surges.

Given the neighbourhood, the booted man may have been a sailor or a fisherman, a possibility reinforced by physical clues.

Pronounced grooves in his teeth may have been caused by repeatedly clenching a rope. Or perhaps he was a “mudlarker,” a slang term for those who scavenge along the Thames muddy shore at low tide.

Grooves in the teeth of the booted man

The man’s wader-like thigh boots would have been ideal for such work.

The boots discovered on the skeleton of a medieval man during Tideway excavations

“We know he was very powerfully built,” says Niamh Carty, an osteologist, or skeletal specialist, at MOLA.

“The muscle attachments on his chest and shoulder are very noticeable. The muscles were built by doing lots of heavy, repetitive work over a long period of time.”

It was work that took a physical toll. Albeit only in his early thirties, the booted man suffered from osteoarthritis, and vertebrae in his back had already begun to fuse as the result of years of bending and lifting.

Wounds to his left hip suggest he walked with a limp, and his nose had been broken at least once. There is evidence of blunt force trauma on his forehead that had healed before he died.

“He did not have an easy life,” says Carty. “Early thirties was middle age back then, but even so, his biological age was older.”

The examination is continuing. Isotope investigation will shed light on where the man grew up, whether he was an immigrant or a native Londoner, and what kind of diet he had.

“His family never had any answers or a grave,” says Carty. “What we are doing is an act of remembrance. We’re allowing his story to finally be told.”

1,000-year-old shoe in the River Thames that was ‘last worn in the run-up to the Battle of Hastings’

1,000-year-old shoe in the River Thames that was ‘last worn in the run-up to the Battle of Hastings’

A 1,000-year-old shoe has been found intact in the muddy river bed of the River Thames. Steve Tomlinson, 47, was exploring the estuary when he stumbled across the unassuming object protruding from the mudflats. The amateur archaeologist was unaware of its historical significance and was urged by his peers to send it off for expert analysis. 

A Scottish institute carefully carbon-dated the shoe and found it be from between 1017 and 1059AD, during the era Anglo-Saxons and Vikings inhabited the British Isles before William the conqueror toppled King Harold at the Battle of Hastings in 1066.

The finding may be one of the last surviving relics from the Viking occupation of Britain before the successful invasion of the French.  Results of the laboratory tests found there was a 95.4 per cent probability that the shoe is from between 1017-1059AD. 

A Scottish institute carefully carbon dated the shoe (pictured) and found it be be from between 1017 and 1059AD, during the era Anglo-Saxons and Vikings inhabited the British Isles before William the conqueror toppled King Harold at the Battle of Hastings in 1066

Mr Tomlinson, from Birchington, Kent, made the discovery of the leather moccasin in October last year while searching in the estuary and the results have just been returned.  

He said: ‘I was out and about just up that area and it was sticking out of a bit of clay mud so I pulled it out.

‘I first thought it was a bit of that but the history of the Thames goes through all the ages so I put the call out to archaeologist and groups and they said ‘oh my God preserve it straight away.’

Mr Tomlinson says he ‘can’t quite believe’ the outcome.

1,000-year-old shoe in the River Thames that was 'last worn in the run-up to the Battle of Hastings'
Mr Tomlinson, from Birchington, Kent, made the discovery of the leather moccasin in October last year while searching in the estuary and the results have just been returned. Heel and toe marks are so well preserved they can be seen on the shoe
Steve Tomlinson, 47, (pictured) was exploring the estuary when he stumbled across the unassuming object protruding from the mudflats. The amateur archaeologist was unaware of its historical significance and was urged by his peers to send it off for expert analysis

He added: ‘It is a rare find and amazingly it is still in superb preserved condition, probably due to the fact it was very well preserved in clay along with the sea, keeping it constantly waterlogged.

‘It is so well preserved that the original toe and heel marks can be seen.

‘It just goes to show you never know what lies beneath.

‘I am over the moon with the result.’

The shoes may soon be on display in a museum from a ‘well-known museum’.

When Did Vikings Invade Ireland? 

In the 10,000 years since Stone Age cavemen first arrived, the Irish have established distinct cultural regions.  Researchers have recently found 23 distinct genetic clusters, separated by geography by comparing mutations from almost 1,000 Irish genomes with over 6,000 from Britain and mainland Europe.

These are most distinct in western Ireland, but less pronounced in the east, where historical migrations have erased the genetic variations.   They also detected genes from Europe and calculated the timing of the historical migrations of the Norse-Vikings and the Anglo-Normans to Ireland, yielding dates consistent with historical records. 

The Vikings left their genetic footprint in Ireland when they invaded the island, launching their first attack in 795 AD by raiding an island monastery. By the 840s, the Vikings began to establish permanent ship bases along the coastline

The study paints a new and more complex picture of the genetic landscape of Ireland and demonstrates the signatures that historical migrations have left on the modern Irish genome. The Vikings left their genetic footprint in Ireland when they invaded the island, launching their first attack in 795 AD by raiding an island monastery.

The Vikings continued to stage small-scale attacks on unprotected coastal monasteries before sailing to River Shannon in the 830s to steal from inland religious settlements. By the 840s, the Vikings began to establish permanent ship bases along the coastline from which they could plunder all year. 

Norse influence in Ireland began to decline by the time of the rise of king Brian Boru (pictured in an imagined depiction)

The Vikings also enslaved some of the Irish people and were able to raid the land by taking advantage of the fact that Ireland was particularly politically fractured.

The Vikings, however, did not conquer the island – by the middle of the 10th century, they failed to control the territory in Ireland.  The fractured political system in Ireland worked in the island’s favour – if one ruler was killed, it did not destabilize the entire island. 

Norse influence in Ireland began to decline by the time of the rise of king Brian Boru.  He sacked the Viking town in Limerick in 968 AD and became the overlord of Cork, Wexford and Waterford.  In 1014, the king’s army routed the Vikings and their allies at the Battle of Clontarf outside Dublin, but a small group of Norseman killed the elderly kind as he was praying in his tent after the battle. 

The Viking remained in Ireland after agreeing to pay a tribute, but the Viking Age in Ireland didn’t come to a definitive end until the Norman invasion in the 1170s and the last Norse king of Dublin escaped to the Orkney Islands. 

This is the largest fossilized human turd ever found

This is the largest fossilized human turd ever found

Sometimes, scientists really are talking sh*t! The proof is in this fossilized excrement, which dates back to the 9th century. It was discovered about 40 years ago, and is famous for being the most expensive poo in the world!

The fossil is known as the Lloyds Bank Coloprite, the word “Coprolite” simply meaning fossilized dung. The rest of its name refers to the fact that it was found in 1972 by construction workers during the building of a Lloyds TSB branch in York, in the northwest of England.

Put simply, this is a fossilized human turd. Not only that but the largest and – bizarrely – most valuable on record.

It dates back to approximately the 9th century and the person responsible is believed to be a Viking. It currently rests at the Jórvík Viking Centre in the city of York, England.

Jórvík was the Viking name for York, with the Center part of an area that has yielded numerous treasures. Whether the Coprolite can be described as treasure is a question for the ages. That said, the details are fascinating.

The reason it’s named after Lloyds Bank isn’t some weird corporate branding exercise. The hefty deposit, measuring 8″ x 2″ (20 cm by 5 cm), was found beneath the site of the famous bank in 1972. And here’s a fun fact for the day – “Coprolite” means fossilized human faeces! Paleofeces is also a term used to describe ancient human droppings found as part of archaeological expeditions.

This is one mighty archaeological achievement. The Australian Academy of Science observed in 2017, “Human coprolites are very rare and tend to only be preserved in either very dry or frozen environments, however, samples have been found that date back to the Late Paleolithic—around 22,000 years ago.”

This is the largest fossilized human turd ever found
The Lloyds Bank coprolite: fossilized human faeces dug up from a Viking site in York, England. It contains large amounts of meat, pollen grains, cereal bran, and many eggs of whipworm and maw-worm (intestinal parasites). It is on display at the Jorvik Centre in York.

For a complete specimen to last this long is awe-inspiring, if not exactly need-to-know information. How do they know it came from a Viking? The ingredients that went into the epic production provide some clues.

“He was not a great vegetable eater,” wrote the Guardian in 2003, “instead of living on large amounts of meat and grains such as bran, despite fruit stones, nutshells and other stools containing matter from vegetables such as leeks being found on the same site.”

Human paleofeces from the Neolithic site Çatalhöyük, Turkey.

That all sounds normal enough, however the Viking’s bowels were also packed with creepy crawlies.

In 2016, the website Spangenhelm referred to “the presence of several hundred parasitic eggs (whipworm)”, which “suggests he or she was riddled with intestinal parasite worms (maw-worm).”

These unwanted invaders can cause serious health problems. The BBC describes conditions such as “stomach aches, diarrhoea, and inflammation of the bowel.” Get enough worms and things get worse, as “symptoms may simulate those of gastric and duodenal ulcers.”

Parasites aren’t known for standing still either. Adults “can migrate from the intestine and enter other organs where they can cause serious damage, even moving into such places as the ear and the nose of unfortunate suffers.”

On a more agreeable note, the malodorous museum piece has been valued at an extraordinary $39,000. No less a publication than the Wall Street Journal reported on the coprolite in 1991, with one source claiming it was “as valuable as the Crown Jewels”.

British TV company Channel 4 delved deeper into the desiccated dropping in 2003, giving viewers an insight into what an ancient turd can reveal about the past. According to them, “if we ever succeed in extracting and analyzing DNA from the excrement, it could be possible to determine the kind of flora that this Viking had in his intestines.”

Those thinking that the excrement-based exhibit might lead to a boring existence are wrong. In fact, it’s faced potential disaster. 2003 is a significant year for the Lloyd’s Bank Coprolite, as it had a brush with destruction courtesy of an unsuspecting educator.

A Guardian report from the time writes that “all was well until two weeks ago when its display stand collapsed in the hands of an unfortunate teacher and, crashing to the floor, the rock-like lump broke into three pieces.”

Talk about a potentially sticky situation. What happens when fossilized faeces is damaged? It’s carefully glued back together of course! This saw the turd reconstructed as if it were a Roman vase or Aztec plate.

With careful maintenance, it’s hoped the Lloyds Bank Coprolite will go on for many years to come. For the individual whose historic diet resulted in the artefact, it was simply a bodily function. Centuries on, experts are flushed with their success in discovering it.

A couple find £5,000,000 in one of biggest ever treasure hoards

A couple find £5,000,000 in one of biggest ever treasure hoards

In an area in Somerset, in the West of England, a pair of metal detectorists found their existence when they uncovered a hoard of ancient coins worth about 6 million dollars. The historical discovery, which has been deemed to be one of the greatest hidden treasures in the UK, is to be revealed in the British Museum.

These coins could be worth up to £5,000,000 after being dug up in a field in north east Somerset

The 2,571 Anglo-Saxon and Norman coins were unearthed by Adam Staples ‘ and Lisa Grace Treasure hunters when they searched farmland with their trusty metal detectors.

The couples have described the hoard as “stunning” and “absolutely mind-blowing” in an interview with Treasure Hunting Magazine.

Adam Staples and partner Lisa Grace unearthed the ‘once in a lifetime’ find of almost 2,600 ancient coins that date back 1,000 years. Their discovery came on a farm in the northeast of Somerset.

They reported their find to the authorities as required by UK law, and the coins were soon sent to the British Museum for evaluation.

The British Museum has been assessing the find for the past seven months and is due to reveal more information about the coins to the public on Wednesday.

A spokesperson for the institution confirmed to the Daily Mail that the “large hoard” was handed over as possible treasure and that it appears to be “an important discovery.”

Under the UK’s 1996 Treasure Act, if a find is officially declared treasure, it must first be offered for sale to a museum at a price set by the British Museum’s Treasure Valuation Committee. If no museum can raise the money to acquire the coins, they can then be offered for sale at auction.

The owner of the land where the coins were found is entitled to half of the proceeds. The metal detectorists are keeping the exact location of their discovery under wraps, although the trove is called the Chew Valley Hoard after an area in North Somerset.

William the Conqueror (left) and Harold II coins. Photo by Pippa Pearce. Copyright the Trustees of the British Museum.

A coin expert at the London auctioneers Dix Noonan Webb has valued the coins at around £5 million ($6 million).

They include mint-condition silver King Harold II pennies, coins from the reign of William the Conqueror, which could be worth as much as £5,000 ($6,000) each, as well as pieces minted by previously unknown moneyers.

The King Harold II coins are particularly rare due to his short reign. The last Anglo-Saxon king was on the throne for just nine months before he died during the Battle of Hastings in 1066.

The expert said that the hoard may prove too pricey for museums, which might have to launch an appeal for sponsors to raise funds to acquire them.

The coins would have belonged to a wealthy person who probably buried them for safekeeping at some point after the Norman Invasion of 1066 and probably before 1072.

The biggest collection of buried treasure ever discovered in the UK was the Staffordshire Hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold and silver metalwork, but this latest find could worth $1 million more, and have as great or even more historic value.

Unusual Roman Villa Uncovered in Northern England

Unusual Roman Villa Uncovered in Northern England

BBC News reports that a large villa complex with its own bathhouse has been discovered at a construction site in northern England. Keith Emerick of Historic England said the house, which has a circular central room flanked by additional rooms, is the first of its kind to be found in Britain.

Keepmoat Homes, which was hoping to develop a new housing estate in the Eastfield area of the North Yorkshire region, found the ruins of the settlement.

But the importance of the find may well have caused a headache for bosses of the firm, with Historic England saying it’s ‘easily the most important discovery of its kind.

The site will be reburied under a public space in the new housing development

Historians believe they’ve identified a whole complex of buildings. It includes a tower-shaped structure, which is thought to have had rooms and a bathhouse leading from it.

They are continuing to study the site, but so far it’s thought it would have been built by a wealthy landowner and could have become a religious building, a ‘stately home cum – gentleman’s club’, or even a combination of both.

Keith Emerick, inspector of ancient monuments at Historic England, said: ‘One of the descriptions we had was that it is something like a religious building that is almost like a gentleman’s club, there’s a bathhouse as well. So it’s a really interesting hybrid building at the moment.’

He added:

These archaeological remains are a fantastic find and are far more than we ever dreamed of discovering at this site. They are already giving us better knowledge and understanding of Roman Britain.

We are grateful to Keepmoat Homes for their sensitive and professional approach to helping ensure the future conservation of this important historical site.

Emerick told The Guardian: ‘It’s not like a jigsaw, where each new discovery adds to the picture, each new discovery actually gives a twist to the kaleidoscope and changes the picture entirely. This is a really exciting discovery and definitely of national importance.’

Unusual Roman Villa Uncovered in Northern England
The complex of buildings includes a circular room and a bathhouse

Not only is it a first for Britain, but it could also be a first for the whole of the former Roman Empire.

Emerick added: ‘I would say this is one of the most important Roman discoveries in the past decade, actually. Easily.’

Keepmoat Homes have changed the initial plans and will not build on top of the site, but will still build in the area.

Historic England hopes the remains will be accessible to the public in future.

In the UK found children’s shoes which is 600 years old

In the UK found children’s shoes which is 600 years old

A child’s shoe discovered during an excavation in Devon maybe hundreds of years old. When archaeologists discovered the ancient footwear during a dig in Newton Abbot, they were shocked.

The leather shoe, which has been well-preserved in the site’s clay soil, maybe from the 1400s.

The team involved in the dig have voiced their excitement at finding such an everyday object intact after centuries in the ground.

Child’s 600-year-old shoe is found at Newton Abbot
Archaeologists carrying out a dig in the heart of Newton Abbot in Devon have unearthed an ancient leather shoe which could date back to the 1400s

‘It’s this day-to-day stuff which is exciting,’ said Simon Sworn, of Cotswold Archaeology and the site’s senior archaeological project officer.

‘The job is not all about kings under car parks,’ he added.

Along with the shoe, a number of other artifacts have been unearthed at the site.

Other historic treasures include an iron spur from a child’s boot, three wooden barrel bases, and a 27 inch (70 cm) diameter Dartmoor granite millstone, used to grind wheat into flour.

‘We will keep going down until we hit natural geology – or water at the site makes it unsafe,’ added Mr. Sworn. 

The team is hoping to uncover more household artifacts dating back to the 13th century when Newton Abbot was a hastily built new town of its day.

Other historic treasures include an iron spur from a child’s boot, three wooden barrel bases and a 27 inch (70 cm) diameter Dartmoor granite millstone, used to grind wheat into flour (pictured)

Mr. Sworn explained: ‘As the name suggests, Newton Abbot was essentially founded as a medieval new town but there is some evidence for 6th/7th-century activity in the immediate vicinity of the site so we may find earlier remains lurking below the medieval burgage plots.’

He added: ‘We’ve been learning a lot about how the town developed and how it came to be the place we live in – and who the people were who made Newton Abbot what it is today.’

A number of well-preserved wooden barrels were found in waterlogged the clay soil (pictured)
Conditions at the site (pictured) have enabled artifacts to be so well preserved due to a lack of oxygen in the soil

Conditions at the site have enabled artifacts to be so well preserved due to a lack of oxygen in the soil.

The waterlogged conditions have enabled organic materials such as leather and wood, which would have rotted long ago, to last for centuries.

‘I’ve never worked on a site where so much local interest has been shown,’ added Mr Sworn.

He added: ‘A lot of perceptive questions have been asked – and we’ve been happy to answer them.

‘Over the next few weeks, we will gradually peel away the medieval layers and go deeper.’