The first week in a three-week excavation at Castle Caulfield in County Tyrone has unearthed some exciting discoveries already. Castle Caulfield is an early 17th century manor-house which was built by Sir Toby Caulfield in the period from 1611 to 1619 on land that had formerly been the stronghold of the O’Donnellys.
Around 160 children from seven local primary schools visited the site and learned all about the castle as well as having a chance to take part in a real archaeological excavation. The children found lots of artefacts including a metal button, animal teeth (which they got very excited about), coins and 19th century pottery.
But the most exciting discoveries of the dig so far came from a trench in front of the gatehouse at the castle where a cobbled surface was discovered. This roadway dates to the 17th century and shows that this was the entranceway into the castle complex, perhaps even before the current gatehouse was built. When digging the soil in the upper levels of this trench we also discovered a button bearing the words ‘Fort Edward Cavalry’. The button is made of a white metal, possibly silver, and highlights a potential link between the site and a troop of cavalry who were based nearby in the late 18th century.
The excavation will continue for another two weeks. This week (20th-24th June) is volunteer week and you can come along and join in. Anyone interested in taking part can contact Naomi Carver on 07815 185115 for more information.