Page last updated at 05:58 GMT, Tuesday, 30 June 2009 06:58 UK

Dig aims to uncover castle past

Dig at Ostermouth Castle
The castle was founded by William de Londres in the early 12th Century and is considered one of the finest in the area.

The first major archaeological dig to take place at a medieval castle near Swansea is underway.

Experts and volunteers are hoping to uncover artefacts along with clues as the original layout of Oystermouth Castle in Mumbles.

They will be on site digging and examining trenches for three weeks.

The ruined castle was recently given a £1.7m restoration lifeline which will pay for conservation works and for a new interpretation centre.

The dig is focusing on an area outside the west tower where archaeologists are looking for an outer wall and a ditch.

They are also examining the knoll after a geophysical survey commissioned by the friends of the castle suggested underneath the ground were walls.

Dr Edith Evans, of the Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust which is supervising the dig, said: "There is quite a lot of speculation as to when the tower was built - what we are doing is looking for the outer wall.

"When the flood lighting was put in a trench was dug and we saw what looked like the foundations of the outer wall of the castle."

Trading contacts

Although repair work was carried out in the mid 19th Century to protect what can be seen today from the elements, Dr Evans said there were no records of any major archaeological investigation of the grounds before.

She said as well evidence of previous structures they were looking for artefacts.

"The obvious thing maybe pottery as it's a medieval site - that will tell us something about their trading contacts," she added.

The dig has been organised in partnership with Cadw, the friends of the castle and Swansea council.

Some of those taking part are volunteers with little or no experience of such an investigation.

Dr Evans said they had been keen to involve people from the local community.

"There has been so much interest over recent years in archaeology. It has become increasingly professionalised.

"There has not been the opportunity to have a go - we wanted to give people the chance of a couple of days excavating just to see what it's like."

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Castle in 1.7m makeover lifeline
25 Sep 08 |  South West Wales

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