This weekend, visitors to Tantallon Castle will be treated to a special event combining archaeology and historical re-enactment.
Archaeologists Under Siege will see re-enactors playing some of those who defended the castle against Cromwell’s soldiers in a 1651 siege, as they set up camp in the castle grounds over the course of the weekend.
Visitors will be able to travel back in time to the 17th century, learning about how soldiers from the period would have lived, dressed and fought. As well as taking in weaponry demonstrations, visitors can explore the soldiers’ camp, finding out about daily life in the 1650s.
There will also be the opportunity to meet some of Historic Scotland’s archaeologists, who will be excavating a series of trenches at the site along with a team from Kirkdale Archaeology and volunteers from the Friends of North Berwick Museum and Edinburgh Archaeological Field Society.
Following excavations last year - which uncovered a range of archaeological features and artefacts, including musket balls which may have been used by Cromwell’s soldiers – the team will be on site once again, targeting areas of potential archaeological interest identified by a recent geophysical survey.
Visitors to the castle can watch the archaeologists in action, ask them questions and help out with the cleaning of finds. Guided tours of the dig will also take place during the weekend alongside the historical re-enactment.
Dr Lorna Ewan, Head of Visitor Experience, Content and Learning at Historic Scotland said: “Once home to the Red Douglases, one of Scotland’s most prominent and powerful baronial families, Tantallon Castle endured three major sieges; in 1491, 1528 and 1651. This unique event, part of our Year of Homecoming 2014 programme, offers visitors the opportunity to learn more about Oliver Cromwell’s siege of 1651. It marries living history with groundbreaking archaeology, giving visitors the opportunity to delve into the castle’s history in a multi-faceted way.”
Archaeologists Under Siege will take place at Tantallon Castle from 12-4pm on May 10 and 11. The event is included in admission to the castle.