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Historic medicine bottles found at Shrewsbury Castle dig

A spoonful of digging helped the medicine be found, in the most delightful way...

Historic bottles were found at Shrewsbury Castle. Picture: B Christian
Historic bottles were found at Shrewsbury Castle. Picture: B Christian

Historic medicine bottles have provided just the tonic for intrepid archaeologists searching one of Shropshire's most important landmarks.

An archaeological dig has been taking place at Shrewsbury Castle from the start of this week, and the team have already come up with some interesting finds.

On Friday, they found several items ranging from bricks that have evidence of burning on one side to thick pieces of ceramic, both found in the mystery corner, and the neck of a broken beer bottle near the doorway.

The best finds of the day also came from the deeper corner of the trench, in the form of three completely intact bottles.

The latest archaeological dig at Shrewsbury Castle

What contents were held by a small bottle marked D.D.D. are mysterious however, a larger bottle is clearly marked ‘Californian Fig Syrup Co. San Francisco Cal’ on the broad side.

Another unmarked brown bottle with a screw cap was also found, still with a dram of liquid inside it, raising the question as to what it could be.

The team has widened the trench to 4m x 3m, uncovering the end of a doorway into the Victorian greenhouse they have been looking to explore.

Underneath the newly cut area of the trench the team discovered a semi-circular brick structure, with a large cavity in the middle. They believe it may be some sort of boiler room, with flue pipes that possibly heated the building.

The objective over the weekend was to delve further into the south-east corner and see if there’s a connection to the cavity in the semi-circular structure, and to bring the expanded trench down as far as the bottom of the greenhouse walls.

Dr Baker said: "We want to empty it out and try and find out what was in that area. We've started small but we will make the trench bigger when we find out what is here.

"We were very pleased with how we were able to solve some of the mysteries of Shrewsbury Castle with last year's dig, and we're aiming to answer some more of the questions that were raised."

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