The history of Carrickfergus Castle is to be unearthed in the coming weeks as a group of archaeologists carry out a dig at the medieval landmark.
An eight-strong team from the Centre for Archaeological Fieldwork at Queen’s University Belfast began excavations at the site on Tuesday of last week.
The tests form part of the ongoing work by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency to inform future development of the stronghold and to enhance the experience for visitors.
Leading the excavations is Ruairi O’ Baoill, who told the Times: “We’ve started our work in the inner ward which is the earliest part of the castle; it was built by John de Courcy in the 12th century. The outer section was added by Hugh de Lacy in the first quarter of the 13th century.
“The castle itself was continually occupied for 750 years, right up until 1928 when it was handed over to the government, so it’s quite exciting as this part of the castle has not been looked at in any great detail before.
“The fact that the sea wall of the inner ward has two windows would tell us that it used to form the outer wall of the great hall; there would have been other buildings in the inner ward as well.
“We’re looking for foundations but also for any items that would give us a better idea of how people lived at the time, like pottery, animal bones or military items, as there was a garrison here.”
Although fenced off for safety purposes, visitors to will still be able to view the excavations during castle opening hours.