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Medieval malting oven unearthed in Northampton

A medieval barley malting oven dating back to the 13th Century has been discovered by archaeologists excavating a site where an office block is to be built in Northampton.

Medieval malting oven unearthed in Northampton
The grain malting oven still had charring from fires lit
 in the 13th Century [Credit: BBC]
The dig in Bridge street is the first large-scale excavation in the town for 30 years. The kiln is almost perfectly preserved with charring marks on the hearth.

Evidence from the site, near where Northampton Castle stood, indicates it was a thriving commercial area.

Medieval malting oven unearthed in Northampton
Other discoveries like these jugs indicated that the site had been a centre
 of commercial activity [Credit: BBC]
Archaeologist Paul Blinkhorn said it was a rare find in an area where there was evidence of medieval industry.

Baking, brewing and bone recycling to make artefacts and ornaments were carried out on the site.

Medieval malting oven unearthed in Northampton
Northampton Castle in the 13th Century overlooked a town that was bigger
 than London at the time [Credit: BBC]
"In the 12th and 13th Centuries Northampton was bigger than London and this oven, for use in beer brewing, is near the castle where large meetings were held often by the king. A lot of beer was brewed for these occasions and Northampton is still a big brewing centre."

The dig continues until September and the archaeologists plan to remove the oven before the site is covered over by the office block.

Source: BBC News Website [August 23, 2014]

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