12 Jul 2017

Forty Hall Summer Dig - Day 1

trench 2
the wall emerges in trench 2

We're back in Forty Hall for this year's summer dig on the site of Henry VIII's Elsyng Palace.

This year's dig is centered around finding out more about the (probably early 16th century) palace building we first uncovered in 2014 and have been progressively uncovering since.

We've opened 3 trenches to the north, west and east of the building to try and establish it's extent and find out more about its construction.

Trench 2, opened to the east in the (post-palace) lime tree avenue is taking up where we left off last year, looking for what we thought might be the east end wall of the building. It only took a few minutes for the wall to emerge (pictured) - immaculately preserved and only a couple of inches below the turf, but at the moment it looks quite small for an external wall and may prove to be another dividing wall within the building. Tomorrow's job in this trench will be to excavate the rubble either side of it to see if these are interiors or exterior surfaces.

trench 3
rubble line in trench 3 (in front of short ranging pole)

Trench 3, meanwhile, was opened to the west to follow a rammed pebble and chalk surface that we think may lead us to the west end of the building. Having successfuly relocated the surface, we subsequently uncovered a line of rubble which may be lying over wall, or may be all that remains of a robbed out construction - hopefully we'll find out more tomorrow.

Trench 1 was not quite as well behaved as the others - its location, to the north, was chosen to re-open an old planting pit which revealed a palace wall in 2005 - we suspect this wall may be connected to our building. Unfortunately so far the trench has essentially drawn a blank, meaning either the backfill of the pit is not visible (not very likely) or that the pit is was not located quite where we thought. If this is the case, it will probably mean extending the trench slightly tomorrow.


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