Oakham Castle Community Dig

Oakham Castle is a Norman motte and bailey castle that has survived in the centre of a small town, but been much altered over the centuries and much of its former structure is unknown.

In 2018 University of Leicester Archaeological Services (ULAS) and Rutland County Council carried out a Heritage Lottery-funded community dig to explore further some tantalising glimpses of stone walls that had been found during a 2012 Time Team programme.

Oakham Castle is an open public site in the centre of town, so there are always people passing through. During the two-week community dig an Info-Point unit was used to provide 24/7 visitor information about the background to the dig and updates on what it was being discovered in the two trenches. The public were informed of the facility by waterproof ‘plastic paper’ posters with a QR Code to access information on each specific trench. During the 10-day dig there were almost 1,000 page accesses, with a substantial number outside the hours of operation of the dig.

Project Leader Matt Morris of the University of Leicester said, “The Info-Point enabled us to present the historical context to the steady stream of visitors, and to easily upload photographs and video of finds as things progressed. I watched people of all ages using it and they seemed comfortable with the smartphone technology. It helped us to improve the presentation of information, and suited the outdoor environment of a dig better than other means. We even included some interactive games.”