There have been a number of archaeological excavations at Carlisle Cathedral. The first major works begun in late 19th century when part of the Norman cathedral was uncovered under the existing floor. Further work followed in the early part of the 20th century when various areas were uncovered, including parts of the cloister and chapter house. In the latter part of the 20th century a major dig was conducted in the north-west corner of the cathedral, the area subsequently being converted in a structure used to house the current treasury.
The cathedral treasury houses a permanent display of items recovered from the excavations in 1988. There is also a small display in the south choir aisle of items recently retrieved from one of the Cathedral wells.
The Romanesque Project
The Romanesque Project is an ongoing project with the aim of reconstructing what the cathedral would have looked like in 1133 (the date that the building was given cathedral status.) A team of volunteers is currently working on measuring the existing fabric of the building in order to establish the extent of the original building and to identify, where possible, alterations made over subsequent centuries.
The project will ultimately use 3D modelling techniques to reconstruct a physical model of the Norman cathedral for visitors to see. In addition, the work will produce three sets of architectural plans relating to the cathedral building in the Norman period, the later Middle Ages and as it is today. The organisers hope that these plans will be the most comprehensive architectural blueprints produced to date.