Dig reveals relics of bygone Doncaster

Archaeological dig at Thorne
Archaeological dig at Thorne

Relics of the past have been uncovered during an archaeological dig in Thorne.

The investigation is taking place on land next to a medieval castle mound on Church Street, prior to the construction of an £8.5 million Extra Care development.

To date, evidence of the post-medieval period has been found, including building foundations, wells and animal burials, as well as fragments of pots, pipes, and glassware left behind by long-ago residents of the site.

Surprisingly, the team have yet to find signs of any medieval activity.

Archaeologists will continue their search for evidence of medieval Thorne by excavating a trench across the bank and moat around Peel Hill, from May 8 onwards.

The dig will form part of proposals, developed with Historic England, to create a new public space and improved access to the medieval motte for both residents of the new development and the wider community.

Kris Peach, Director of Extra Care for Housing & Care 21, said: “We have been following the archaeological work with great interest. The insights it is providing into the lives of people who used to live on the site are fascinating.

“As an Extra Care scheme, the new development will allow older people to live independently in their own flats, with care and support available on-site and a range of communal features such as a restaurant and hair salon.”

Neil Redfern, principal inspector of Ancient Monuments for Historic England in Yorkshire, who has advised on works to the monument, said: “We have actively sought to ensure the new accommodation makes a positive addition to Thorne and the land around Peel Hill Motte.

“We really wanted it to form part of the physical and visual landscape of the new housing accommodation so that residents feel it contributes to making their homes special. The new paths will enhance access to the motte and will offer us the opportunity to explore the origins of the castle.

“We are really pleased Housing & Care 21 and Keepmoat have supported community open days and talks as they help to build a sense of ownership of the archaeological results and the wider scheme with the community.”

The investigation of the site is fascinating local people, with 600 followers on the Thorne Motte Dig Facebook page set up to provide updates on the project.

A talk is to take place at St Nicholas Church Hall at 6pm on May 17, to provide people with an update on the archaeological investigations, as well as a presentation on the new housing development by representatives from Keepmoat and Housing & Care 21.

Community Archaeologist Jon Kenny has also held archaeology workshops with students in schools around Moorends and Thorne.