16 Jul 2016
Forty Hall Summer Dig - Day 5
It was another great day today in what may be one of our most successful ever digs on the site of Elsyng Palace. We've now fully excavated and recorded the remains of the mortar surface which once held the glazed floor tiles we have been recovering all week, as well as the other distinctive area of pebbles and chalk.
Meanwhile, the extension in the north-west corner of the trench was further excavated -- this forms a square enclosure and features a small square of bricks in its center -- we now think this is a (originally wooden) staircase with a central column.
The construction of the walls of this feature have turned out to be a messy mixture of brick and tile courses, rather than just tiles as we first thought, though it still seems likely that the walls were supporting a timber framed construction -- it's interesting that this is all definately not workmanship of the highest quality despite the fact that it seems to date to the period when the palace had come into royal hands. It may be that these structures were built in something of a hurry in anticipation of the arrival of the royal court.
We've continued to make some fascinating finds, most notably today we found a concentration of what looks like a variety of iron tools including a splendid hammer head (pictured) which stil contains the remains of the wooden handle in its socket, as well as what may be a file, possibly a chisel and a small chisel blade that may have been part of the hammer head or possibly a tool in its own right.
In light of this, second, third and even fourth opinions have been circulating about the three-pronged iron object we found on day three, which may turn out to be some sort of tool after all.
We have still not seen the ends of our building so we still don't have a clear idea of its overall size, so further extensions have been opened to the north and west of the trench. Tomorrow is the last day of the dig and so our last chance to answer this question, although in light of the successes of the week it's unlikely any of our diggers will complain if we have to come back to the same spot next year!