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Castleton 2009

Castleton 2009 Pottery Report

Castleton 2009 Test Pit Location Map

Four more test pits were excavated in Castleton in 2009 bringing the total to ten. There was one small fragment of shell tempered ware recovered from CAS/9/01 that was of late Saxon or early post-Conquest date and another no later in date than the 12th century. A single unidentified splash glazed Sandy ware sherd from CAS/9/02 (1.4m below the present ground level and immediately above a cobbled stone surface) is of similar date, splash glazing as a technique belonging, in this area at least, to the high medieval period (later 11th to early 13th century). The association of this sherd with the stone surface suggests that the latter may be a medieval feature, but further work on a larger scale would be required before its precise character and its relationship to the town ditch can be resolved. Two other sherds of medieval pottery, from CAS/09/03, are likely to be slightly later date than those from the other pits excavated in 2009. As in 2008, there was very little pottery of pre-eighteenth century date found in any of the test pits. It is likely that the increase in pottery in the eighteenth century relates to the creation of a turnpiked road through the village in 1759, which became an important early route linking Manchester and Sheffield. This must have opened the village up to a much greater flow of traffic and traded material: this certainly seems apparent in the test pit data, where a transformation in the quantity and quality of the material culture of the settlement is clearly evident. With respect to the paucity of earlier material, it is also notable that later medieval (13th to mid 15th century) and particularly post-medieval (c.1550 - c.1700) activity was not represented in any of the test pits discussed here. The majority of the small medieval assemblage that has been recovered dates to the likely period of the construction of the castle, but it is somewhat surprising that it has not been found in larger quantities. Unfortunately, there is a dearth of excavated rural settlement sites in the area with which the assemblages from Castleton could be compared in order to establish whether such a limited amount of material could be compatible with a settlement of the supposed status of Castleton, with its town walls and castle. Given that a total of ten test pits have now been excavated in the village, together with the inconclusive results of a programme of limited excavation on the presumed site of the medieval hospital, it seems that this lack of medieval material is a real pattern which requires further investigation.