14 Jul 2015

Festival Of Archaeology 2015 - Forty Hall - Day 1

trench 1

We've hit the ground running at Forty Hall this year, as we return for the 11th year in our search for Henry VIII's Elsyng Palace.

Last year we (unexpectedly) discovered the wall of a substantial C16th building, just to the west of the park's lime tree avenue, apparently bounded on the south side by a shallow but quite wide ornamental 'moat'.

This year we aim to uncover more of this building and hopefully get a better idea of its size and date, and how it relates to the rest of the palace complex.

We opened Trench 1 today on a point twenty metres west of last year's trench, following the line of the 'moat' -- and therefore the wall. The plan is to get another section across the wall (and perhaps part of the moat), and then to expand the trench into the building, to examine the size and nature of the rooms inside it.

wall rubble
a distinct line of rubble crosses trench 1

So far, having de-turfed and removed topsoil, we have revealed a distinct line of brick rubble, exactly on the predicted line of the wall. This will (hopefully!) peel off tomorrow onto in-situ brick structure, and eventually reveal a floor surface on its north edge.

The width of the apparent wall is, at the moment, slightly worrying, in that it is much narrower than the building section we saw last year. Hopefully, as we reveal more of it it will get bigger -- otherwise we may be looking at a boundary wall rather than a continuation of last year's building. This may require a radical rethink of strategy. Stay tuned tomorrow!


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