Archaeologists begin a ‘walkover survey’ of Selkirk’s 1,000-year-old castle this weekend, before Peel Hill’s first ever dig, from October 23-30.
The ruins of the 11th-14th century ‘motte and bailey’, first built by William the Conqueror to control the valleys and later refortified by Edward I to counter William Wallace’s raids from the Ettrick Forest, lie hidden by woodlands within the Haining Estate. Northlight Heritage, helped by the Selkirk Castle Community Project, first mapped the remains with a 3D survey to show what the hill looked like stripped of its trees.
“This weekend, every bump we see on the survey map, we will check on the ground to see what it is,” explained Charlotte Francoz, Northlight Heritage’s field director, “then we will decide the best place to put the excavation trenches.”
Describing what the survey revealed, Ms Francoz said: “The ditches were impressive: the ramparts are clearly defined. You can imagine something on top of the motte. It would have been a wooden structure, so to find evidence we will have to look underground. I want to see if there is a building within the bailey, and an entrance to the motte.”
Council archaeology officer Dr Chris Bowles said the object of the study is, “first, to find evidence of the castle and its inhabitants, and second, to study the effects of the woodlands that have grown on top of the archeology.”