23 May 2013

Theobalds Palace Site - The Plot Thickens!

mola archaeologists
MOLA Archaeologists record the tangle of walls revealed beneath the old car park

At Cedars Park, Cheshunt, contractor's excavations to find routes for new services have exposed an extensive complex of built features. Centred on the west end of the former car park, to the north of the old cafe building, the area is crowded with a variety of built features.

Initial interpretation is complicated, but it seems that the area contains at least one palace wall. Others are built from recycled palace materials and include large sections of stone window mullion as well as other substantial stone elements. Some of these form the core of walls faced with apparently 18th century brick cladding. Others are probably of 18th century origin whist still more, with shallow frogged bricks are plainly from the mid 19th century.

Where excavation has penetrated deeper, the remains of brick arches are revealed together with the voids of undercrofts and cellars. The whole area is further complicated by cuts made for 20th century services.

On Tuesday 20th May, the Museum of London Senior Archaeologist supervising the site emailed EAS Chairman Mike Dewbrey with a request for help recording the complex archaeology. The following day, members of the Pastfinders recording team spent the day alongside MOLA colleagues. The EAS team successfully planned about a third of the affected area (and were commended by the professionals for the speed and quality of their work).

English Heritage now have the difficult task of deciding just where new services can run through the heart of this Scheduled Ancient Monument.


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