WELL WELL WELL ….
In May 2016, our new theory about the location of Lancaster’s Late Roman Shore Fort was proved when excavations on Castle Hill, just below the Priory, revealed the corner of the fort along with road surfaces, a drain and, surprisingly, a stone-lined well set within the thickness of the 4m-wide walls.
The depth of the well is not yet known. The deeper it and the excavation goes, the more complicated and expensive the work, but the higher the chances for really interesting finds and environmental information that will help paint a fuller picture of life in Lancaster in late Roman and perhaps medieval and later times. A late Victorian OS map shows the spot marked with a pump, but we don’t yet know when it fell into disuse.
So far, only the top 1.5m of modern infill has been excavated. The real archaeology lies much lower down and at the bottom, and could be still waterlogged so that organic objects made of wood and leather may be preserved. What might we find?
WELL …if we are lucky, perhaps a bucket and rope, shoes or clothing, wooden writing tablets, votive offerings? And of course a wealth of archaeo-environmental material – animal bones, insect remains, seeds, leaves, pollen, etc. All good stuff…..
In a tight spot
So now BTC needs to raise the necessary funds to excavate the well. The first job is to get a better idea of how deep it is and what the depth of archaeological material is likely to be. We hope to be able to get a handle on all this via a small bore hole. Excavating within a confined space and at depth is logistically a great deal more complicated than excavating in open ground. Health and safety of those working down the well and maintenance of the well’s structural integrity require specialist engineering input at every stage from design (legislation, methodology), shoring, access, lighting, communications, removal of spoil, etc. Also, conservation can be very costly, particularly with organic material where treatment needs to start as soon as it comes out of the ground. There is no time to lose!
We need your help!
We expect the overall fundraising target to be in the region of £15,000 to cover the costs of the excavation, engineering works, post excavation and preliminary conservation of delicate finds.
The first big milestone is to raise £5,000, target date 25th December 2016. Contributions can be monetary or in-kind such as loan of equipment, technology and engineering/design, laboratory services etc.
This will allow us to establish the depth of the well via a bore hole, secure specialist structural engineering support to develop the methodology for the excavation or the well itself, and archaeologically excavate the area surrounding the well to a depth of about 1m.
This is the essential first step in establishing the relationship between the well and the Late Roman Shore Fort
How can I support the project and what do I get out of it?
The project depends on your support – either financial or in-kind – and we have thought about the following incentives you might like in addition to the warm glow you get for having supported such an important project.
Pledge £20 and get a an A5 card with an artist impression of the Late Roman Shore Fort (by Kate Lloyd-Philipps)
Pledge £50 and get an A1 print of an artist impression of the Late Roman Shore Fort (by Kate Lloyd-Philipps)
Pledge £100 to receive regular, exclusive updates online and copies of the final reports
Pledge £250 and you and your business colleagues, school classmates, scout group etc get to meet the team and go on a special tour of the site.
Pledge £500 and see your logo or name included on all project literature and site boards and be invited to special press days and events.
Do you want to dig with us when we excavate the area surround the well to a depth of about 1m? Let’s talk!
For more information on the Beyond the Castle Project, go to http://beyondthecastle.org/
What happens next?
You let us know how you would like to support the project and what incentive you are most interested in. You will receive an email from us acknowledging your contribution and we will finalise arrangements with you re your incentive.
We will post cards or prints – those of you who will be joining us on site will receive your items when you arrive.
How do I get in touch with Beyond the Castle?
We’re here for you! All emails sent to Lucia.Marquart@lancashire.gov.uk at Lancashire County Council will be read and replied to. We’re also on Facebook and Twitter @ squareroutesBTC; Our mobile number is 07887 831154
Terms and Conditions: Because this project is crowdfunded, your campaign support is non-refundable. All funding and contributions generated via this campaign will go towards archaeological investigation within the Scheduled Ancient Monument, Castle Hill. We are pleased to confirm that Lancaster Priory Church will act as accountable body for this crowd funding campaign.