Archaeological fieldwork is not always the glamorous process depicted on film or television, but can be a relatively menial task; nevertheless, potential for discovery is ever-present in a medieval city.

This small watching brief, along a duct installation trench running along Castle Street, was routed to pass through to the site of the Castle Gate. This important symbol at the entrance to medieval Salisbury was linked to the planned defences and was constructed in the 15th century. Together with the Winchester Gate it formed one of only two formal entrances to the city that were ever completed. The gateway was apparently built of stone, rectangular in plan and included impressive battlements. Sadly, it was partially demolished in 1788 and finally removed in 1906, without further record.

The scene of excavations on Castle Street by Wessex Archaeology in 2002 The area of castle street where excavations took place, seen in 2020

The course of the duct sadly avoided the line of the foundations, of which no trace was found, however, the exercise was not entirely unproductive. An apparently unremarkable block of limestone, a type of stone that is not native to Salisbury, was uncovered from the cable trench and probably represents a final tantalising remnant of the Castle Gate.

Phil Harding, Fieldwork Archaeologist