17 Jul 2012

Festival of British Archaeology, Forty Hall, Day 1

eas diggers

This year's big dig on the site of Elsyng Palace got off to a good start today. Continuing our events in celebration of the Festival of British Archaeology, we will be digging all week, with a public event on Sunday.

Our strategy this year is for a series of small quick-fire trenches in the area of the lime tree avenue, in pursuit of a possible post-palace structure, culminating in a larger targeted excavation at the weekend. We have previously had very little idea about what happened immediately following the palace's final demolition between 1656 and 1657, and so any work we can do to fill in this gap in the history is important for understanding the site.

empty trench

We opened two small trenches today, the second of which did indeed reveal the expected wall. We know from previous excavations that the walls of the building are very shallowly buried, and this will hopefully allow us to confirm the conjectured outline of the structure without needing to do too much digging!

The first trench, unfortunately, did not reveal a wall -- we do not know yet whether this is because the wall was buried more deeply than expected or if it lies elsewhere -- hopefully we will resolve this later in the week.


The wall disclosed by the second trench was very heavily worn, suggesting that it may have been the threshold of an entrance to the building. Mortar surfaces on both the external and especially the internal side of the wall contained a lot of palace demolition rubble, supporting the post-palace date for the building.

For more information on the Festival of British Archaeology including details of events taking place this week across the country, visit the CBA website


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