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BBC TV's ‘Digging for Britain' at Berkeley Castle

Published: 19th August 2010 07:13

A new BBC TV programme starts tonight 19th August 2010, where Dr Alice Roberts follows a year of British archaeology, joining up the results of digs and investigations the length of the country.

Digging for Britain

The episode due for screening on Thursday 2nd September, will feature the University of Bristol's Archaeological dig in Berkeley, Gloucestershire. The dig, now in its 5th year, has proved hugely successful, and during this year's dig students unearthed a series of 12th century buildings, a Saxon hearth using recycled materials from an earlier Roman building, as well as Anglo Saxon and Elizabethan coins - all from the paddock just outside Berkeley Castle's entrance gates.

In the adjacent garden of the Edward Jenner Museum finds this year included Roman deposits in the footings of what is thought to be 3rd century ancillary farm buildings. This is the first evidence of Roman activity in Berkeley. The wall of an Anglo Saxon building was also discovered along with 9th century pottery fragments and a strap end (a metallic cover of the end of a strap or belt).

In addition to the dig, Digging for Britain, will also feature a rare and valuable gold Saxon ring that is part of the Berkeley Family's private collection. The ring was last publicly displayed at the V&A in 1972. It is believed that the ring dates from the early part of the 9th century, and that the ring may have been made locally or by someone familiar with a regional artistic tradition.

The ring has been among the collections at Berkeley Castle for over 150 years, however there are no records to suggest how the ring came to be part of the family's collections. It does appear in the Castle's records for the first time in the 1860s when it was placed on loan for exhibition in London for the first time.

The series is on Thursdays at 9.00pm on BBC2.

For more information about Berkeley Castle please contact 01453 810332 or e-mail info@berkeley-castle.com.


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