Important archaeological finds including arrowheads and skeletons unearthed during restoration works
Emily Ash Local Democracy Reporter
Works on the site of a Scheduled Ancient Monument have unearthed important artefacts including remains of defensive walls, medieval arrowheads and skeletons.
Bailey Hill, which incorporates the remains of a Norman motte and bailey castle, a public park, a custodian’s cottage, and a former bowling green and playing area is council owned and has previously been “overgrown and under-used” according to the report.
Most of the site is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and has been restored through a partnership between the council, Mold Town Council, and the Friends of Bailey Hill.
To make improvements, the partnership developed a series of funding bids which resulted in over £1.7m of funding being secured for the site.
The development work included the redevelopment of the Custodian’s Cottage, creating accessible routes to Bailey Hill, and enabling limited vehicle movements for events and improve the setting of the war memorial.
Developments also included improvements to walking routes at two main open spaces at the site, installation of electricity supply to support events, replacing the play area and repairing the boundary wall.
A programme of community engagement activities and events was also supported to re-engage the people of Mold, especially schools, in their site.
Except for the play area, all other construction works on site are complete according to the report.
The report said that all works on the site had been subject to consent from CADW and closely monitored by archaeologists from the Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust. This has resulted in a number of “very interesting finds and unexpected discoveries”.
This includes a possible “defensive wall and floor levels of a building” at the base of the motte, dated by “associated Twelfth / Thirteenth century pottery sherds”. The report said that large ash deposits indicated it is likely to have been a kitchen range, and they are hoping to get funding to radiocarbon date the charcoal content of the mortar.
There was also a “a large defensive three-metre-thick wall” found elsewhere on the site, likely to be Norman.
Details from the report
The report said: “Due to its size and thickness this is likely to be the outer defensive wall of the castle. Historically it was believed that a stone structure had been erected on the top of the motte but the rest of the site would have had wooden palisade defences and buildings. The large number of stone structures indicate that the Bailey Hill site played a far greater role in the history of the area than previously thought. Considerable time, effort and money had been spent to fortify the site.”
A total of seven historic skeletons we found “lying east-west”, suggesting they were Christian, in an area developed for the outdoor stage. They were from both men and women and even included a child, but they have now been removed from the site.
The report said: “Historical records mention skeletons being found in the past, but it was always believed that these were disarticulated and in a ditch or pit, having been dumped post battle. The skeletons have been sent to Durham University for analysis to identify their sex, height, health, and age at death. We are unsure of their historical date as there were no associated archaeological features / finds. Radiocarbon dating will hopefully tell us when they lived and further analysis may tell us their origin.”
Medieval arrowheads were also discovered.
As for the site itself, the partnership remains in place and is responsible for the ongoing management of the site. Flintshire Council is responsible for the day-to-day maintenance of the site but Mold Town Council operates the Centre on site and supports volunteers and events.
The report added that the Friends of Bailey Hill are, “providing additional services to further enhance the appearance of the site, improve biodiversity and liaise with local people. A detailed management and maintenance plan is in place to define the roles of the three partners which is currently being refreshed.”
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