As you may know ETA is based in the beautiful Derbyshire Peak District and we do like our local archaeology! We do try to get to see as many sites and projects as we can and we finally made it to this year’s excavation in Castleton.
The excavation was part of an on-going project – The Search for Castleton’s Medieval Hospital, St Mary in the Peak. The project is a joint venture between Castleton Historical Society and the Archaeology Dept of the University of Sheffield. The team has been working on the project since 2007 and each year has seen more evidence of Castleton’s story unearthed.
This year saw the main work continue in the area known as Spital Field where they believe the medieval hospital St Mary of the Peak is located. A number of stone walls have been found in the excavations over recent years, but the archaeological adage of “walls do not a building make” has certainly been the case so far, but this year saw another one revealed and it looks promising that a building is at last emerging. Of course, the full story will gradually become clear once the finds and data from this year’s excavation are added to that which the team have built up over the years, although Colin Merrony of the Archaeology Dept is very hopeful. They also found a drain. Not very exciting you might think, but it is thought the still working drain dates to the 18th century. It is not yet fully understood who built it and why. What they do know it that it works and takes water away from the road and down towards the river. This year the team also had three small trenches behind the Methodist Chapel. They found some paving and rubble which could be from the demolition on pre-existing buildings when the chapel was built in the 1880s.