11 Jul 2015

Festival Of Archaeology 2015 - Cedars Park - Day 2

the site

The second day of our three-day exploration of James I's palace gardens went well today, as we opened a third trench in the area of the 'loggia' garden feature.

We opened a third trench today in line with, and slightly to the south of, a stub of wall abutting the main loggia boundary wall. Last year we tentatively identified this stub as the base of a column within the loggia -- to test this theory, we are looking to see if there are indeed a row of such column bases, which would also underline the interpretation of the structure as a loggia.

So far, the trench has not produced much more than large tree roots, so we will have to crack on with this tomorrow.

Meanwhile, we extended trench 1, hoping to follow the odd pair of walls we uncovered yesterday, projecting from the loggia boundary. The construction of these walls seemed very poor, and we soon found they are not directly attached to the loggia boundary wall. As we followed the brickwork south, things became more complicated -- the brickwork became increasingly jumbled and gave way to a layer of brick fragments, mortar and chalk, before apparently resolving back into a wall, albeit apparently narrower than it started.

After much scratching of heads, we have tentatively come to the conclusion that what we have is in fact another column base, and the jumble of bricks, either caused by poor quality work or disturbance during demolition has created the optical illusion of two parallel walls.

If this is correct, then beneath the rough brick course on top, there ought to be a neat square column base -- and the narrow wall section is a separate 'dwarf' wall forming some sort of decorative division between columns. We will test this hypothesis tomorrow by digging down in front of the brickwork and carefully examining the bond of the walls.

Progress in trench 2 is relatively slow, as we are having to unpick various complex layers of 19th century deposits, while keeping an eye out for the cut of the C16th ornamental canal.

Apothecary's Bottle - perhaps C17th

One of today's nicer finds was the neck of a (perhaps 17th century) Apothecary's bottle.

There have also been a surprising number of interesting finds coming (unfortunately) directly from the topsoil (and therefore unstratified) -- including an ornate bronze shoe buckle, lead trading tokens and even what may be a small bronze 'pricker' for clearing the touch-hole of a flintlock pistol!

To see these and other finds as they emerge from the trenches, come and see us in Cedars Park on the last day of the dig tomorrow!


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