Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Digging in at Bamburgh; TV's Time Team Lends a Hand at North Site

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Digging in at Bamburgh; TV's Time Team Lends a Hand at North Site

Article excerpt

Byline: Tony Henderson

TV's Time Team yesterday joined a dig at a coastal castle which symbolises Northumberland.

This is the 10th year of excavations at Bamburgh Castle, once capital of the kingdom of Northumbria.

But this week the regular team of archaeologists will be joined by staff from Time Team in a bid to locate the early medieval village which preceded today's Bamburgh settlement.

The annual digs by the Bamburgh Research Project have investigated the inner ward of the castle and the Bowl Hole cemetery in the nearby sand dunes.

Around 80 graves, most dating from the 7th and 8th Centuries, have been uncovered.

Graeme Young, director of archaeology for the Bamburgh Project, said that the cemetery could number up to 1,000 burials.

It was first revealed during a great storm in 1817 which scoured the dunes, but was then covered up and lost before being rediscovered by the project team.

Most of the burials which have been unearthed have been male, but there have also been female and child graves.

Mr Young said: "The people have been in good physical condition and have not starved, so the balance of evidence is that they are higher status individuals from the Bamburgh fortress."

About half of the individuals in the burials investigated came from the local area and the rest from other parts of Northumbria - which extended from the Humber to the Forth - or even further afield.

Bamburgh is believed to have been established as a royal power base in 547 by King Ida, who ruled the kingdom of Bernicia, from the Tweed to the Tees. Animal bones found placed next to bodies in some graves suggest that, at a time when Christianity was just arriving, pagan rituals of including food with the burials was continuing.

The Bamburgh Project is working with Durham University to examine the burials. …

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