31 May 2018

Forty Hall Spring Dig - Day 4

trench 1
The 'barn' wall in trench 1

The weather turned out much better than we'd feared today so we made great progress uncovering and recording the various elements of our Tudor palace buildings.

At the east end of trench one the rubble layer has now been removed to reveal four courses of solid if slightly damaged Tudor brickwork. This is, as we expected, the south side of the long east-west 'barn' building that runs out into the lime tree avenue and would, we think, be the base for a timber framed superstructure.

trench 1
'Barn' wall (middle) with floor surface (right)

At the other end of the trench, beneath the tangle of tree roots, we found a well preserved section of the same wall but with a gap in it, so we opened a small extension to fully investigate and found the wall was present but had been demolished to a slightly lower level.

The extension also took in a small part of the interior of the neighbouring service range we saw last year, which at this point has a rather crude brick floor -- further evidence that this building is not at the 'posh' end of the palace.

trench 2
The substantial brick drain in trench 2

Meanwhile in trench 2, having located the position of our drain late yesterday afternoon, and having resolved most of the complications caused by tree root intrusion and post-palace landscaping deposits, we were able to press on and reveal the top of the two very well constructed walls of the drain that we saw further west last year.

We can now accurately see where the drain and the north-south wall we recorded yesterday ought to meet, and have laid out a small trench extension for tomorrow that will investigate this -- the expectation is that the drain will continue perhaps after altering course slightly, and follow alongside the wall, which should turn to the east, forming the north side of the 'barn' building.

We'll also have another opportunity to examine the fill of the drain, which may (we hope!) contain some interesting finds -- the sort of household rubbish that got thrown away and washed down drains such as pottery and particularly fish bones.

The weather forecast is looking much better for tomorrow so hopefully we're over the worst of it!


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