14 Jul 2023

2023 Summer Dig - Day 6

walls in T4/5/6
The newest column base emerges in T4 (foreground) - looking north

A bit of a washout today, as rain stopped play on day 6 of our two week hunt for the inner gatehouse of Elsyng Tudor palace.

The morning was dry enough that we got some work done, cleaning the exposed wall surfaces and beginning to excavate the contexts on the sides of the walls.

A small extension was made at the south end of Trench 4 to reveal more of the section of skinny wall that looked as though it was thickening in the trench section.

As we suspected, this revealed that the thin wall does meet another octagonal brick column base at this point, perhaps intended to strengthen the otherwise quite flimsy wall.

octagonal column base
The new octagonal column - facing east - and the offset course at the base of the skinny wall

At the same time, digging down in front of the narrow stretch of wall revealed, after three courses of bricks, a quite substantial offset course which we eventually found to run between both the newly revealed octagonal column and the slightly smaller one at the north end of the trench.

It seems at the moment as if this offset was intended to strengthen the foundations of both columns.

Early signs are that the skinny wall continues to run on the same alignment after the new column, and a further trench extension may be called for to prove this.

At the other end of the trench, we began to excavate the deposits surrounding the multi-angular turret, but work was slowed by the end of the morning by increasingly persistent drizzle and eventually constant rain by midday had called for an early lunch break.

T1 extension
Extension at west end of T1 (facing north)

Late in the day yesterday a small extension at the east end of Trench 1 revealed an unexpected segment of wall running roughly parallel with the trench outside its north edge, and so early this morning we opened a corresponding extension at the trench's west end on the alignment of the wall to see how far it ran.

Digging in this extension was again halted by the rain but has so far drawn a blank. Further trench extensions are likely to be needed to find out more about this wall, especially if it is related to the structures in T4/5/6.

Although work finished early we were pleased to be able to give a brief tour of the archaeology to pupils of Lavender School, who were appropriately impressed.

school visit
A visit from pupils of Lavender School

We hope that the weather will be better tomorrow - although rain is forecast it should hopefully be lighter.

We're at a point of the dig where there is a lot of recording to do, and drawing in particular is very arduous in wet weather.

We are also considering opening up another trench to the north of the large multi-angular turret, with the expectation that it should lead to more substantial buildings, but to do this will require clearing an area of dense undergrowth and an intrusive holly bush, so tomorrow's work looks likely to begin with a spot of light gardening.


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