11 Jul 2022

Summer Dig - Day 2

trench 1
Removing topsoil from Trench 1

A good day of digging today despite the oppressive heat - fortunately most of this year's site is located under the canopy of the lime tree avenue, protecting us from the worst of the sunshine.

Context 2
17th century landscaping context

Today we finished removing topsoil from trenches 1 and 2, revealing in both trenches a layer of mostly pebbles and occasional brick and tile fragments.

This is fairly typical of Elsyng, and represents the period immediately after the final demolition of the palace around 1656, when landscaping efforts were made to make the ground where the palace formerly stood as level as possible by dumping and levelling gravel and residual rubble across most of the site.

Having fully recorded this in both trenches, by mid afternoon we began removing this layer to find what lies beneath.

As we remove it in trench 2, this pebble layer is becoming incresingly rich in brick fragments, perhaps indicating a layer of rubble beneath - we won't know for sure until tomorrow.

drip glazed bricks
Drip glazed brick fragments

Perhaps an encouraging sign in trench 2 was a notable concentration of 'drip glazed' bricks - these are bricks that are fired at a high temperature and have a glossy blue-green finish, and were used in high status Tudor buildings to make decorative diamond or 'diaper' patterns in walls. Elsyng's inner gatehouse would very likely have been decorated in this way, so a large number of this type of brick may be a good sign.

Similarly in trench 1, we began removing the pebble layer but by late afternoon the sun had come around to this trench and slowed things down somewhat. Hopefully we'll be able to make more progress tomorrow although the forecast looks as though we're in for another very hot afternoon.


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