Town dig unearths medieval treasures

THERE was no Tony Robinson - but a Doncaster market town has had its own version of Time Team thanks to university boffins.

And the event run by archaeologists from Sheffield University in Thorne produced finds dating all the way back to medieval times.

Medieval pottery and a 19th century coalhouse were among the finds in the dig.

Hundreds of local people joined the professional archaeologists in trying to discover secrets underneath the Norman mound of Peel Hill at Thorne.

The enthusiasm shown by locals and the finds delighted the experts.

Site archaeologist Chris Harrison said: "The response has been fantastic. On the first day we had 100 people here and on the second there were 80. The third day was a bit quieter but that gave us a chance to catch up on work associated with the finds."

The first of four trenches dug during the event uncovered the Victorian coalhouse and finds there included a John Smith's beer bottle from the 1920s, other old bottles and clay pipes.

A second trench provided evidence of medieval pottery which is believed to have been made at a kiln in Hallgate, Doncaster, as far back as the 13th century.

"We have been really pleased with what we have found and it's really got local people thinking about the way people used to live in Thorne. We've gone back 900 years in a couple of days," said Chris.

Peel Hill is one of Doncaster's oldest monuments and conservation work on the 22ft high mound has been carried out by Thorne-Moorends Town Council using a 12,000 English Heritage grant.

Thorne was a significant Baronial stronghold during the medieval period and according to historical records, the tower on the mound was used as a hunting lodge and a jail. It stood until at least the 16th century.

Thorne-Moorends Town Council clerk Ian Harrison said: "People of all ages are being invited to take part under the guidance of professional archaeologists. We want to write a new page in the history books as part of our push to help protect this remarkable relic."

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