13 Jul 2014
Festival of Archaeology 2014, Cedars Park, Day 2
Any doubts we may have had that the wall line we uncovered is indeed the palace 'loggia' quickly evaporated today, as, fortunately, did the threat of heavy rain.
At the westernmost point of the wall a sondage to investigate its foundations showed that they were enormous -- nearly fifty centimetres of solid rubble and mortar show this to be a very sturdy wall indeed. At the same time, the sondage revealed that the widespread brickearth deposit butting against the wall is not, as we thought yesterday, natural but redeposited -- also a significant piece of seventeenth century engineering. There is simply nothing else of this date and scale in the area that the wall could be.
Meanwhile, we continued to be spoiled by some really great finds, including an excellently preserved C17th token or ‘jetton’. Such tokens were commonly used in the mid to late seventeenth century for reckoning accounts and for various games. This example features a farmer kneeling in a ploughed field in front of a horse and cart, with a heavenly figure appearing in the clouds above him -- it features the Latin motto NIL SINE LABORE -- "Nothing Without Labour".
Ultimately this should be very closely datable, as will the three clay tobacco pipe bowls we found this weekend (keep an eye on the newsletter for more details!)
Every EAS dig typically ends with a mystery and true to form, late this afternoon, while in search for a construction cut (which we eventually found elsewhere), another wall stub, very similar to the one uncovered yesterday, emerged from a trench extension about midway along the main wall.
While at first we took this to mean a line of arch bases or something similar along the main wall, it is of a much inferior quality to the rest of the brickwork. We didn’t have time to fully investigate this feature, and so it looks likely that this will provide a starting point for next year's dig!
All in all, this year’s dig at Cedars Park has been a resounding success and though there remain many more questions to answer, we have had a better start to the investigation of the ‘loggia’ than we could have hoped.
More details about the dig and its findings will, as ever, be published in future editions of the society newsletter.
For more information about Cedars Park and the history of Theobalds Palace, see www.cedarspark.info