Visit our Current Archaeology Book of the Year-nominated site on Flickr and follow the dig in pictures!

Oxford Castle was built in 1071 at the west end of the thriving late Saxon town. Although it was never a castle of the first rank as a royal or seigneurial stronghold, it was an active county castle throughout the medieval period. Largely abandoned by the late 16th century, it continued to serve as the county gaol; new gaol buildings reflecting contemporary ideas on prison reform were constructed in the 18th century, and again in the 19th century when Oxford Prison adopted the ‘separate system’. The closure of the prison in 1996, and the subsequent redevelopment of the site, provided the opportunity for archaeological investigation between 1999 and 2009.

View images of the castle excavation in the gallery below. Read the Current Archaeology review of the award-nominated book here.

Oxford Castle