16 Jul 2017

Forty Hall Summer Dig - Day 5

trench 2
edge of floor in t2

We began today's digging continuing at the east end of trench 2, revealing more of the very nice brick floor that once served this room of our palace building, and investigating the coarse rubble deposit beyond it.

The floor surface has been roughly truncated at the point the rubble begins, confirming our suspicion yesterday that the rubble is filling a substantial cut into the floor of the building towards its east end.

The reason for this cut is as yet unclear as the rubble deposit is not yet fully excavated - and there is still no sign of any wall marking the east end of the building.

Although the floor has been robbed out at this point, we were surprised to find the last metre or so of the surviving floor contains brickwork at a different orientation to the rest - at the moment the theory is that this might be decorative, perhaps suggesting that the floor is for a moderately high status room.

trench 4

We finished excavating our brick drain over by trench 1 today - no mean feat as it turned out to be considerably deeper than we expected making it very awkward to reach. In the end, a brick-built base was revealed just over a metre down, revealing eleven courses of immaculately laid Tudor brickwork on each side - one of the best built walls we've seen in recent years.

The deposit filling the drain was carefully screened and turned up quite a few very small finds, including clothes pins, lace ends and some very small bones including fish bones and a tiny humerus (leg bone) from a small rodent - we think maybe a shrew (all less than 10mm).

early 17th century tobacco pipe

The fish bones are particularly interesting as they are so delicate and rarely survive unlike the larger beef and sheep remains (which have been turning up in large numbers in all trenches), and so give an important insight into the Tudor diet.

With a mind to this we retrieved several bulk samples of the context for fine sieving after the dig (stay tuned to the society newsletter for the outcome!).

We'll be taking tomorrow off to catch up on paperwork and finds processing, (including some lovely very early clay tobacco pipes - one pictured) and we'll be back, rested and raring to go again on Tuesday.


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