Was dolphin on the menu at Cardigan Castle?

First published in News

Was dolphin on the menu for medieval revellers at Cardigan Castle?

Archaeologists have unearthed more than 12kg of animal bones from digs in the 12th century castle as work continues on the £11m restoration project.

Bones include pigs, sheep, goat, cattle and deer as well as various birds.

Archeologists also uncovered part of a dolphin skull.

"There is no obvious butchering on this bone but it is quite likely that the main carcass could have provided meat," said chief archaeologist Nigel Page.

"The close proximity of the castle to the west coast would have meant that these animals might have been regularly available." He added that dolphin bones had been unearthed at other castles in the UK.

Ten species of bird bones were identified including fowl, goose and the more rare Great Bustard and wading bird the Godwit.

Bird remains also include an entire skeleton of a magpie which archaeologists think could have been kept as a pet.

A bone was also found from a Golden Eagle.

"The presence of an eagle at a castle site is not unexpected as these were once birds kept by royalty," said Mr Page.

Mr Page added that the bone revealed that the bird's foot had been cut off.

"The removal of the foot is interesting and suggests that the bird could have died here and its foot kept as a talisman or for decoration."

The bones also reveal that castle residents and visitors enjoying a "high status" diet.

"The assemblage from Cardigan Castle is larely dervied from secondary butchering and food waste with both the species and elements present suggesting a good quality, high-status diet," said Mr Page.

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