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Berkeley Castle Tales

26 October 2020

Edited by Professor Mark Horton, Dr Stuart Prior, and Dr Konstantinos Trimmis. Published by Oxbow Books.

The ‘Berkeley Tales’ volume is presenting the outcomes of the 15-year-long University of Bristol excavations and landscape research at the Berkeley Castle estate in south Gloucestershire. The project aimed to build up a detailed picture of the history and archaeology of the castle and the associated settlement of Berkeley.

The current focus of the volume can best be described as ‘Minster, Manor and Town’. By combining the results of detailed archaeological fieldwork with information contained in the castle’s impressive collection of 20,000 historical documents, the project adds greatly to the knowledge and understanding of the early medieval period and the subsequent changes in landscape and society that occurred with the coming of the Normans and the erection of a castle on the former minster site.

The excavation project, which in 2016 won the prestigious Current Archaeology award for the Archaeology Project of the Year, was built around the aim of re-writing through material culture and extensive archival and geophysics research the narrative behind the construction of Berkeley Castle, the corresponding town, and the area of the Severn valley that overlooks the borders with Wales. This volume is aiming now to disseminate this narrative to both the discipline and the wider public.

The volume starts with an introduction that presents the scope, the aims, and the objectives of the Berkeley Castle project and the historiography of the University of Bristol’s research in Berkeley town. The presentation of the project continues with a presentation of the stratigraphic narrative of the excavations and the subsequent assessment and analysis of the archaeological assemblages.

The publication concludes with a discussion chapter that lays out the narrative of the Berkeley Castle landscape throughout the last 2,000 years from the Roman to the Tudor periods. Throughout the publication the advances that the Berkeley Castle project offered to the archaeological practice, the excavation and geophysics methodology, and the community and public archaeology are evident, since the editors intend the volume to be a milestone not only for the study of a castle landscape but also for the archaeological method and practice.

Further information

The book is available to purchase via the Oxbow Books website.

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