New dig will explore story of Castle Hill

University of Leicester Archaeological Services will be working with Leicester City Council to explore an enigmatic monument in one of the city’s Country Parks.

The ancient monument at the heart of Leicester’s Castle Hill Country Park is due to be investigated later this month as part of a community archaeological project.

Leicester City Council and University of Leicester Archaeology Services (ULAS) have teamed up to run the two-week community dig at Castle Hill, in Beaumont Leys. It will be the first archaeological excavation of its kind to take place at the scheduled ancient monument.

Castle Hill Country Park

The dig – which runs from Monday, September 19 to Friday, September 30 – is open to members of the public who will be given the chance to learn basic archaeology skills and find out more about the history of the site.

Dr Richard Buckley of University of Leicester Archaeological Services said:  “The rectangular earthworks at Castle Hill are thought to be the site of a medieval Knights Hospitaller monastic complex, dating from around 1240 to 1482.

“Within the enclosure are smaller earthworks which may be the remains of internal buildings whilst outside is a fishpond and dam.  We plan to dig several trial trenches inside the enclosure, with the help of members of the public, in the hope that we can finally discover the date and function of this monument.”

The Castle Hill earthworks. Drawing by F. Hartley.

The community archaeological dig is part of the Story of Parks project. The two-year, Heritage Lottery-funded scheme is helping to collect and celebrate the history of Leicester’s parks through the stories and memories of local people that use them.

Cllr Piara Singh Clair, assistant city mayor for culture, leisure and sport, said: “The Story of Parks is helping to get local people involved in researching and capturing the important role that parks have played in our lives for many generations.

“This community archaeology project will allow then to delve even deeper into our local history, and find out more about the fascinating background to the Castle Hill earthworks.”

Places at the dig are limited and will need to be booked in advance by emailing

Tools and training will be provided, although people should wear suitable clothing and footwear for outdoor work.

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