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Page last updated at 07:03 GMT, Monday, 26 July 2010 08:03 UK
Archaeologists investigate Alderton Mount site
The up-slope heading towards the moat.
The up-slope heading towards the moat.

Alderton Mount near Towcester in Northamptonshire was home to a castle from the early 12th century until the latter half of the 14th.

Archaeologists are there until 6 August to investigate more about its history and use.

Tim Upson-Smith from Northamptonshire Archaeology led a dig at the Mount in 2009.

Mr Upson-Smith and his team found evidence of some of the oldest stone buildings of any castle in the county.

Castles were not always the blood and thunder scenes of siege and battle that they are sometimes painted.

The era in which Alderton was built was one of political uncertainty in which the wealthy were able to flex their muscles locally, often through castle construction.

Mr Upson-Smith said: "A castle this size would have been your hunting seat or something like that. It's very unlikely that this castle, despite its massive defensive ditch, would ever have been under siege. It's more a symbol of power.

Part of a stone building.
The previously unearthed corner of a stone building at the mount

"It would have been quite a busy place, with horses stabled up here, smoke from the fires and really an interesting scene. That's half the fun of archaeology, being able to visualise that."

Alderton Mount is now protected by scheduled ancient monument status and is currently owned by Derek Batten.

He was driving through Alderton one day and saw a sign saying 'For sale, castle and moat.' The rest, as they say, is history.

If you are interested in helping out or are simply keen to learn more about Alderton Mount, you are welcome anytime from now until the 6th of August.

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