Way back in 2012 there was an ImaginationLancaster project called “Beyond the Castle” (part of the PROUD project) that generated a wealth of ideas, key values and themes for the green space beyond Lancaster’s castle through a series of creative community engagement and co-design activities. Beyond the Castle was part of the PROUD project funded by the European Union through the INTERREG IVB programme.
A key finding from the co-design process was that there was a keen interest from local communities in finding out more about the Roman archeology below the ground and to take part in ‘Time Team’ type digs, guided by experts.
The learning and insights generated from the the co-design process documented in ‘Beyond the Castle – Imagining the Future’ led to a new Beyond the Castle project run by Lancashire County Council and Lancaster City Council who secured funding from the Heritage Lottery ‘Our Heritage’ Fund (HLF). The project focused on archaeological investigation and development of site understanding, landscape management, development of digital tools, all underpinned with a strong community engagement programme.
This allowed them to continue regular conservation activities on site for volunteers, and to run a series of events and activities to share the new learning with communities. This all helped to develop a shared vision and way forward for the management of the site’s cultural and natural heritage.
Last week it was announced that Lancaster University staff and student researchers have discovered evidence of a Romano-Celtic temple under public land near Lancaster Castle – only the second of its type found in northern Britain. The only other temple of its type in northern Britain is close to Hadrian’s Wall.
Professor Andy Binley, an expert in hydrogeophysics at Lancaster Environment Centre, offered to use his research expertise and equipment to continue the work of the Beyond The Castle archaeological project, when heritage lottery funding ran out in 2017. What started as a team-building exercise to train a group of PhD hydrogeophysics researchers to use specialist equipment, ended up providing potential evidence of an extensive religious enclosure lying just outside the Roman military fort at Lancaster.
Find out more about the research findings and Lancaster’s Roman past here.
The findings are outlined in the paper ‘Lancaster Romano-Celtic temple is significant find’ published by British Archaeology.
Professor Binley is continuing to work with Beyond the Castle project’s leading archaeologist, Jason Wood ON Castle Hill, this time exploring what lies under the Priory Churchyard and local gardens, aiming to reveal more detail about the fascinating history of Roman Lancaster.
The ripple effect of impact does not happen straight away, and, as this story attests, it can continue appearing many years later.
How could you track impact years beyond a project?
You can also read the news story from the local radio station, Beyond Radio