AN ARCHAEOLOGICAL dig at a mansion in Wem has uncovered some clues into the area's history.

Soulton Hall, based near Wem, is home to Soulton Long Barrow, but is also the potential site of a 900 year old 'adultrine' castle.

The test dig was lead by DigVentures, a team of professional archaeologists who run excavations that the public can take part in.

People travelled from all over the country to take part in the excavation, as well as America and New Zealand.

After spending two days uncovering some intriguing artefacts, the team now plan on returning to the site next year.

Maiya Pina-Dacier, head of community at DigVentures, said: "We had two days to investigate the large rectangular mound in the grounds of Soulton Hall.

"So far the details of who built it, when, and what far remain a bit of mystery, but it’s a really impressive structure that’s clearly in a very strategic location.

"Some have suggested that it’s the remains of an ‘adulterine’ castle built in the 1100s when Empress Mathilda and her cousin Stephen were at war, while others have suggested it was the site of a medieval manor house, or possibly a gun mount used during the English Civil Wars in the 1600s.

"We excavated five small test pits to assess the condition of the remains. It’s basically the archaeological equivalent of a biopsy, and the results definitely warrant further investigation.

"We can already see that the mound is an even more impressive construction than previously thought. Excavation revealed that the whole thing is made of clay, which would need to have been brought to the site.

"Transporting enough clay to build a two metre high mound would have taken intense effort. Likewise, the surrounding ditch is so deep that we still didn’t get to the bottom of it even after two days of digging, confirming that this was no superficial feature.

"We found several other intriguing clues too, including a range of medieval pottery, and hints of metalworking – perhaps iron or lead smelting.

"Now that we know the scale and condition of the task ahead, we’re planning to come back for a more in-depth excavation next year. Something interesting was certainly happening here, and we’re now even more determined to figure it out!

"It’s wonderful to work with landowners who are so interested in Shropshire’s history, and clearly recognise how important it is to get a better understanding of this site.

"It’s fascinating to investigate, and the family’s ‘no till’ approach to agriculture is also a rare blessing that has allowed the remains to survive so well."

Anyone who is interested in taking part in any future investigations can sign up for email alerts at or