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As well as the forthcoming volume dedicated to the site (ed. Lindley forthcoming), a Conservation Plan has been produced for Lincoln Castle (Hayfield 2000) and this provides a much more detailed research agenda than is possible here. The following supplementary information is provided to help guide future archaeological planning.
One of the remarkable things about Lincoln Castle is the way in which its development seems to have been arrested, following the major re-fortification in the 13th century. We know of almost no works undertaken on the defences after that date - indeed the earliest topographical views (Buck of the 1720s) show an enclosure and towers in an advanced state of ruin, much more ruined than appears the case today following 19th-century reconstruction. Yet we know that the Castle was besieged in May 1644 and that the enclosure itself continued to be the headquarters of the administration of the County throughout the Early Modern Era. The archaeology, then, should cast light on two different aspects of the castle's history - the short term military events of the 1640s and the long-term activity connected with County administration and justice.
We have an account of the siege of May 1644 in contemporary newspapers and they make it clear that the castle itself was fitted out for defence, presumably with earthworks and temporary wooden barriers being lodged around and against the stonework. The archaeological remains of these temporary fortifications will be of great interest to military historians. It has been speculated that, in the aftermath of the Civil War, the castle may have been deliberately slighted. There is no documentary evidence for this, but archaeological evidence may throw light on the question.
The Castle ditches, which had formed a key part of the defences of the site in the Early Modern Period, evidently fell out of use and were considered dispensable by the reign of Charles I, when they were sold off in plots for houses. We need to know whether this sell-off represented a single act of state privatisation, made simply to raise revenue for the crown, or whether it represented a recognition of the status quo, which would suggest that only feeble control had been kept of state property in preceding years - unofficial privatisation by stealthy local initiative.
Although the Civil War was a major interruption, the processes of County justice and administration continued here from c.1350-c.1750. It was focused on the twin halls within the enclosure, neither of which has been investigated archaeologically; both represent enormous resources of information for understanding the development of County administration and justice. One aspect of this function, amongst others, which we know will be of great interest, is the development of prison regimes. Very little is known about the circumstances in which prisoners were held awaiting trial in the late medieval period. What was the physical layout of detention blocks, was there segregation and if so was it by class or sex or both? In the 18th century more is known and the documentation suggests that several dedicated units developed within the castle enclosure, for criminals awaiting trial, for debtors and for the condemned awaiting execution. All details of these regimes will be welcome, but, if possible, comparative studies between the different categories of incarceration will be of great interest.
In addition to these functional buildings there is known to have been a suite of residential buildings for the Constable and other visiting officials. These buildings were a legacy of the High Medieval Era, but alterations made throughout the Early Modern Era will be of interest in charting the interest taken in the administration of justice in successive regimes.
The boundary of the RAZ remains as in RAZ 9.48.