13 July 2017

Archaeologists return to Tintagel Castle for month-long excavation

A report released to coincide with the dig reveals evidence of stone-walled buildings, dining, wealth and consumption at the medieval castle in Cornwall

Two people excavating at Tintagel Castle

Archaeologists have started a second excavation at Tintagel Castle this week, as a new report into last year's findings is released.

This year's dig will continue to explore the site uncovered during the 2016 excavation of the southern and eastern terraces of the castle's island ward.

The report into last year's dig, released by English Heritage and Cornwall Archaeological Unit, investigates a cluster of stone-walled buildings which were discovered in the trenches.

Pottery discovered in last year's dig

What we uncovered in 2016

As well as the walls, the first dig uncovered a collection of fascinating finds including a range of imported Mediterranean material dating from the late 5th and early 6th century. 

Among the objects excavated were clothing such as brooches and belt buckles, domestic items like knives and nails and items possibly used for hunting including an arrowhead and horseshoe.

Artefacts of rich tableware, also discovered last year, suggest fine dining, wealth and consumption along with finds of animal bone fragments and oyster shells.

Click here to view the full report.

Two women excavating ruins at Tintagel Castle

The 2017 dig

English Heritage Properties Curator (West) Win Scutt said:

'The report reveals a fascinating insight into the lives of those at Tintagel Castle more than 1000 years ago.

'It is easy to assume that the fall of the Roman Empire threw Britain into obscurity. But here on dramatic Cornish cliff top they were making use of substantial stone buildings, using fine table wares from as far away as Turkey, drinking from decorated Spanish glassware and feasting on pork, fish and oysters.'

Jacky Nowakowski, project director at Cornwall Archaeological Unit said:

'Our excavations at Tintagel last summer exceeded all expectations by partially revealing amazingly well-preserved stone walls, a slate floor and a flight of steps which belong to a pair of well-built buildings. Accompanied by many finds, we have at present, a broad date range which suggests these buildings were part of the major post-Roman settlement at Tintagel.

'Our plan in 2017 is to open up a much larger area on the southern terrace so that we get a good look at the scale and size of the buildings and find out exactly when they were built and how they were used.'

Three men examine finds at the excavation site of Tintagel Castle

The 2017 dig will run for five weeks from 10 July to 11 August, six days a week (excluding Saturdays).

For more information about the dig and to see how you can get involved, visit our Tintagel Dig page.

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