Wark find is right on the money

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Flodden Young Archaeologists made a thrilling discovery this week when their youngsters found some real life buried treasure.

The youth club was taking part in an excavation at the site of Wark Castle, digging into the castles turbulent past.

And among the young archaeologists who were eager to trowel back the mud was Will Nicholson, aged nine, who discovered a silver coin whilst working alongside his friend Jack Young, also aged nine.

The pair, from Duns, were told that what they had brought to light was a silver Edward I halfpenny.

Elizabeth Allis, aged 12, of Lowick, also taking part said: “I was digging at the site where Wark Castle once stood in an area near the chapel where they would have thrown waste which is called a midden.

“I really enjoyed finding bits of medieval pottery and animal bones.

“My friend Will found a hammered silver coin, called a cross penny.

“If you went near a hole, you would be covered in mud, everyone loved it.”

She added: “My brother William loved trowelling so much, it was extremely hard to get him away from the site when it was time to leave!”

Edward I was known as Longshanks because of his height and also as the Hammer of the Scots because of his involvement in the Scottish succession when he decided the competing claims of John Balliol and Robert Bruce to the Scottish Crown.

He was the first king to mint halfpennys, starting shortly after he came to the English Throne in 1272.

During the medieval period Wark Castle was one of the most strategically important castles in the country, due to its location on the border, and was the scene of frequent skirmishes and sieges. In 1513 it was one of the first castles captured by the James IV’s Scottish army before the Battle of Flodden.

After Flodden, Wark Castle must have been quickly repaired by the English as a 1517 account showed it to be fully equipped and operational again.

Jane Miller, education officer for the Flodden 1513 Ecomuseum said: “We were delighted to join Chris Burgess and the Flodden 1513 archaeology team on their Wark Castle dig. During the morning we found lots of medieval pottery, animal bones and, at the very end of the morning, the coin - this exciting find was the icing on the cake!”

They were also joined at Wark Castle by Tess and Cat from the “Sounds and Guts” project who are working with people across Northumberland, looking at the role the landscape plays in people’s emotional and imaginative lives.

Jane went on: “Tess and Cat were recording the sounds of the excavation as our young archaeologists worked”

The Flodden Young Archaeologists’ Club meet monthly at sites across Northumberland and the Borders, encouraging children to take part in a range of archaeological activities.

Their next Flodden YAC meeting is on Saturday 13 June at Ford Moss Colliery where we will take part in the Big Dig.

If you’d like more information about the club you can contact Jane Miller, Flodden 1513 education officer, at JMiller@woodhorn.org.uk or check out the group’s website at www.floddenyac.wordpress.com.