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"Forgotten burgh is buried treasure"

Forgotten burgh is buried treasure
trefwoorden: kasteel - Schotland - 12e eeuw
It was arguably the most powerful and prosperous Royal burgh in Scotland, with five mints turning out coins of the realm and merchants from across Europe arriving to purchase the annual wool clip.
But after Old Roxburgh, or Rokesburg as it was then called, was razed in 1460 during the militarisation of the Border between England and Scotland, the place where Scottish kings held court was quickly abandoned and forgotten.
The site on a peninsula near Kelso, where the River Teviot joins the Tweed, has remained undisturbed for more than five centuries.
However, this week Old Roxburgh is expected to give up some of its secrets when Channel Fourís Time Team carry out a three-day archaeological excavation, hoping to throw new light on Scotlandís forgotten Royal burgh.
A book written in 1999 by Alastair Moffat, the former head of Scottish Television Enterprises, claimed King Arthurís mythical kingdom of Camelot may have been located at Roxburgh Castle.
However, the experts from Time Team will be concentrating their efforts on tracing the buried remains of the medieval town, granted its royal charter by King David I in the 12th century.
Walter Elliot, a historian who will be involved in the Roxburgh dig, said: "This is an extremely exciting and important project and one Iíve been advocating for many years.
"Time Team will only be there for a limited period, but it is to be hoped there will be further excavations at what is one of the most important sites in the whole of Scotland."
Mr Elliot said in its heyday, Roxburgh had been an international trade centre. It counted among its visitors Italian bankers as well as the wool dealers who came to purchase fleeces from sheep reared in the Tweed valley.
"As well as five mintmasters, there were goldsmiths and silversmiths working in the burgh," he said.
"However, the constant strife in the area meant it was always being destroyed by the English or the Scots, and thatís what caused its demise."
The exact dimensions of the riverside community are unknown, but there are understood to have been at least three churches, several schools and a sizeable population.
There were also a number of market places and Roxburgh almost certainly included the medieval equivalent of an industrial estate making pottery and other items for local inhabitants.
Teams of volunteers, including secondary school pupils from Kelso, will give support to the well-known members of Time Team, fronted by Tony Robinson.
Mr Elliot said: "This place was burned down three times in the 14th century alone, so that should give us three layers of archaeological evidence.
"Iím confident there will be some very significant discoveries because the land has not been cultivated for a very long time."
Roxburgh Castle was frequently under English control, and there appear to have been occasions when the burghís residents also considered themselves to be English.
At one stage the burgesses of Roxburgh petitioned King Edward II to build a wall round the town "to save us from the brigand Wallace".
Asked whether this weekís project was likely to yield valuable finds, Mr Elliot said: "I have a number of coins produced at Roxburgh by the various mintmasters between 1180 and 1220.
"Each coin bears the name of the man who made it. So there is every chance that objects will turn up. The weapons of the day were mainly swords and spears, so there may also be evidence of the frequent fighting around the site."
bron: Scotsman News, 3 juni 2003