Guernsey Press

Team dig back to the 1600s at the heart of Castle Cornet

AN ARCHAEOLOGY team has gone back 400 years at Castle Cornet, finding cannonballs and a wine bottle along the way.

Dr Phil de Jersey at the archaeological dig taking place at Castle Cornet. The team has made some interesting discoveries, including cannonballs and a wine bottle. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 32996883)

The dig team is excavating Prisoners’ Walk at the heart of the castle and are now uncovering secrets hidden since the 17th century.

‘We are now back in the 1600s but have some way to go to get back to the castle's medieval beginnings,’ said States archaeologist Phil de Jersey.

‘There is still another 300 odd years of history to uncover and that means we are not sure how much further we have to dig.

‘You are almost guaranteed to find something of interest when you know you have had 800 years of occupation from some important individuals.’

Dr de Jersey and his colleagues started working on the site which they believe is the site of a drawbridge pit, at the beginning of February.

They have now worked down through an 18th century cobbled walkway and an even earlier mortar pathway.

The team has discovered that parts of the castle’s passage have been dug up before, and the electric cabling they thought was German turned out to be post-war telephone lines from when the citadel housed the Ministry of Defence.

‘Unfortunately,’ said Dr de Jersey, ‘because it has already been dug up it means information has been lost from the ground forever.’

He added that recent inclement weather had hampered progress but not dampened spirits.

‘The rain this week has been quite challenging,’ he said.

‘The exposed areas have been almost unworkable, and the water runs down into the dig area. At least under the archway we have some cover, and we have found some interesting finds.’

The team hopes to be on site until the museum reopens on the 20 March.

‘There is a chance we might be here beyond that,’ he said.

‘We might be become part of the exhibit, which will at least give visitors to see a real dig in action.’