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Silver coins, musket balls and more uncovered in archaeological dig in Grantham town centre




A 13th Century Edward I silver coin was one of the most significant finds during an archaeological dig in Grantham at the weekend.

The two-day dig took place on St Peter’s Hill on Friday and Saturday, with Grantham Civic Society working alongside archaeologists from Heritage Lincolnshire.

Members of the public were also invited to participate and have the opportunity to unearth some of the town’s hidden medieval heritage.

Rob Gait and Denise Tegerdine opening up one of the trenches. (11304443)
Rob Gait and Denise Tegerdine opening up one of the trenches. (11304443)

Other finds included musket balls, clay pipes and ceramic beads.

The archaeological work was supported by a £2,000 grant from InvestSK’s Heritage Alive! funding programme – funding that has been made available by South Kesteven District Council.

Ruth Crook, of the civic society, said: “The weekend went extremely well.

A 13th Century coin found on the dig. (11304412)
A 13th Century coin found on the dig. (11304412)
Edward I silver coin found on the dig. (11306808)
Edward I silver coin found on the dig. (11306808)

“There was a huge amount of interest in what we were doing from the public, with many keen to take part.”

The dig was commissioned after scorch marks, which appeared on the grass on St Peter’s Hill during last summer’s heatwave, indicated some unusual underground features.

The civic society contacted Lincolnshire Heritage’s archaeology team to carry out a non-invasive, resistivity survey, with the district council contributing £1,000 towards the cost of the project.

Sarah and Helena Morris enjoying the opportunity to participate on the dig. (11304456)
Sarah and Helena Morris enjoying the opportunity to participate on the dig. (11304456)

The test revealed three clear areas of buried masonry within the St Peter’s Hill area, prompting calls for a closer look. The area is where both St Peter’s Chapel and the Eleanor Cross were once situated.

Over the weekend, the archaeologists searched for historic remnants and artefacts in three trenches, hoping to uncover evidence of where exactly Grantham’s Eleanor Cross stood, as well as evidence of the chapel which was first recorded in 1338.

Confirmation of the precise location of the cross would be of major significance. The Eleanor Crosses were a series of 12 stone monuments topped with crosses in a line down part of the east of England, erected by King Edward I between 1291 and 1294 in memory of his wife Eleanor of Castile, marking the nightly resting-places along the route taken when her body was transported to London from Lincoln.

Only three of the crosses are still standing – at Geddington, Hardingstone and Waltham Cross – while others have disappeared without trace.

Once all the finds and masonry remnants have been fully analysed, the conclusions will appear in a report.

Ruth said: “We should get the full archaeological report in eight weeks.”



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