On the 26 July, despite the traditional British summertime weather, Wessex Archaeology was thrilled to be part of an event held as part of the Festival of Archaeology at Pontefract Castle. Around 200 visitors joined us in our exploration of finds recovered during the works at the Royal Apartments, journeying through the mists of time to discover what people were eating, drinking from and surrounding themselves with hundreds of years ago. 

Visitors had the chance to get hands-on with history; washing animal bone and ceramics only a couple of hundred metres away from where they were used and discarded, to be recovered hundreds of years later during our excavations. Younger visitors were not left wanting with the opportunity to build coil pots and dress up in Anglo-Saxon costume.
Artefacts from the castle’s gory past during the civil war were on display, including musket balls found during works to open up the Sally Port and one of the cannon balls recovered from the walls of the keep during the conservation work. Pontefract’s more recent past also came to life in the form of 19th-century tea pots and a commemorative George VI mug. 
By Hannah Holbrook