Archaeological Investigations

Here is some information about previous excavations. You can also download pdf documents produced by ARCUS on two pieces of fieldwork.

Trial trenching of Sheffield Castle illustrations and report
Evaluation of the Castle Market Upper Loading Bay illustration and report

In 1915 a large portion of the site previously occupied by Sheffield Castle was purchased from the City Council by the Brightside and Carbrook Co-operative Society for the construction of a new store. Work began on site in 1927. A L Armstrong (acting for the Society of Antiquaries and the Hunter Archaeological Society) was given the task of recording any findings. In 1928 the City Council also started work on the construction of Castle Hill Market at the rear of the proposed Co-operative store on a site covering another area of the old castle.

The survey (carried out between 1927 and 1930) revealed parts of the gatehouse associated with the inner court. The gatehouse with two flanking towers was located on the south-east side. Beyond this was a moat, the bottom of which lay some 33 feet below the level of Exchange Street. The lower part of the ditch was cut into the rock. On the north side of the castle part of a vaulted roof and the base of a circular pillar were discovered, as well as evidence of what Armstrong took to be the remains of the de Lovetot castle that was destroyed by fire in 1266. Under that layer he also found what was claimed to be a large timber Saxon structure. He speculated that this may have been Waltheof’s Aula (hall).

A number of artefacts were found on the site, principally from the moat. These included pottery, shoes, a key, clay pipes, pins, coins, cannonballs and knives. Many of these are on display at the City Museum in Weston Park. Between 1958 and 1972 L H Butcher also observed and recorded the results of building work in the area of the castle. None of this early work was carried out using modern archaeological techniques, but nonetheless it is a valuable source of information about the castle.

Early in 1994 the South Yorkshire Archaeology Service and the South Yorkshire Archaeology Field Research Unit were commissioned by the Markets Department of Sheffield City Council to undertake a structural survey of the surviving part of the castle that is now located in a chamber close to the Meat and Fish Market. Following remedial works to the surrounding structure, this area has now been made accessible to the public.

Text courtesy of Sheffield Markets

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