Medieval Castle Unearthed Beneath Prison Yard

The massive castle dates back to the year 1110.
Foundations of the 20th-century brick prison, built on top of the medieval castle's keep wall.
Foundations of the 20th-century brick prison, built on top of the medieval castle's keep wall.

Researchers have found the remnants of a medieval castle hidden beneath a men's prison in Gloucester, England, shedding new light on the regal architecture once present in the city.

While recently examining the area for proposed plans to redevelop the prison, Cotswold Archaeology researchers unearthed a wall of the 12th-century castle's tower and nearly 900 artifacts, including well-preserved pottery shards and bone dice, the archaeological services company announced on Monday.

"We are surprised by what we found; we knew there was a castle but had expected more of it to have been destroyed," Neil Holbrook, an archaeologist and chief executive of the company, told The Huffington Post. "We are still uncovering our history in Gloucester, and this is another reminder of the rich heritage that the city has."

Medieval dice found at the site.
Medieval dice found at the site.

Gloucester has been home to two medieval castles. The first was built east of the prison site, according to the researchers, and then replaced by a new stone castle around the year 1110. The recent discovery is believed to have been the latter, which would have been comparable in size to the White Tower at the Tower of London, Holbrook said.

The researcher told BBC News that the castle was demolished in 1787 and the walls had "never been seen in the last 200 years" until now.

In 1791, the Gloucester prison received its first prisoners ,and remnants of the castle were buried beneath the jail's exercise yard. The archaeologists noted that the new findings will be analyzed and protected until the redevelopment of the prison site takes place.

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