29 May 2018

Forty Hall Spring Dig - Day 2

trench 3
The east-west wall (top) does not cross the north-south wall (foreground)

A productive morning was unfortunately followed by a wash-out afternoon today, as we continued our investigation of the Tudor palace structures we uncovered yesterday.

In trench 3 we continued to uncover the west side of the north-south wall we found last year, and as we expected yesterday, we found that the east-west wall that joins it does not continue on its far side, although we did find evidence for a cut, which we think may just be an over-cut construction trench that was never intended to have a wall in it.

trench 2
Continuation of the N-S wall

Once the north-south wall in trench 3 was fully uncovered we were able to more accurately determine its course at it runs north towards the large drain we found last year -- trench 2 was located to find where the two should meet, but on projecting the north-south wall line we found the trench was about a meter too far west. We therefore opened a small extension to the east and quickly picked up the (very shallow) line of the N-S wall.

Cleaning back from the sides of this wall we've also started to find what looks like a compacted chalk floor perhaps on both sides, as well as what looks like the construction cut and/or possibly a demolition cut on the wall's east side.

It should now hopefully be fairly easy to follow the wall line to where it (hopefully!) meets the drain.

small find 1
Salt glazed stoneware with (probably Dutch) coat of arms

Progress in trench 1, searching for the course of the east-west wall as it heads out into the lime avenue, has been hampered somewhat by extensive tree root penetration -- this makes trowelling awkward -- but we have revealed a fairly consistent layer of demolition rubble that is hopefully overlying our wall.

There have been one or two finds from this trench including a fragment of a salt-glazed stoneware vessel bearing a fragment of a probably Dutch coat of arms. These are a form of usually drinking vessel or flagon and were commonly imported from the continent throughout the 16th and 17th centuries.

Unfortunately work ground to a halt in the early afternoon with the arrival of torrential rain and thunderstorms. We are at a point, particularly in trench 1, where we need to record and draw the trench before we continue and this is not possible in driving rain.

Hopefully, the forecast for tomorrow looks slightly better and we'll be able to make up for a lost afternoon.


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