12 Jul 2016

Forty Hall Summer Dig - Day 1

trench 1
removing topsoil from trench 1

After the disappointment of our dig in Cedars Park last week, which failed to deliver any pre 20th century archaeology, Forty Hall offered a welcome relief as we returned to the site of Henry VIII's Elsyng Palace and were rewarded early on with in-situ Tudor palace remains.

We've returned to the site of the C16th building we first discovered in 2014, which so far we've found to contain two garderobe (toilet) chutes, but so far we haven't seen much of the building's interior.

This year's first trench covers a 6x4 metre area inside this building and will hopefully give us a better idea of its size, construction and date.

trench 1 wall
tile wall footings

Despite the best efforts of the weather we made good progress today, de-turfing and removing topsoil to reveal the ubiquitous demolition layer of broken brick and tile fragments that cover most of the palace site, deposited some time around the palace's final days in c.1650.

The most encouraging feature was a line of roofing tiles deliberately laid in a right-angle in the north-east corner of the trench, approximately where we had suspected the end wall of our building might be.

Roofing tiles were commonly used in wall construction for various purposes, such as making uneven walls level, and as may be most likely in this case as the base for a timber framed construction. It's too early to interpret this feature fully, and we'll have to expose more of it tomorrow, but it already poses questions about our building -- was it a half-timbered structure, or was it much larger than we thought and could these be internal walls dividing rooms?

Stay tuned!


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