15 Jul 2023

2023 Summer Dig - Day 7

angular tudor turret
Drawing the turret (looking north)

We had a better day today in the woods by the lime tree avenue of Forty Hall, as we approach the halfway point of our summer dig on the site of Elsyng Tudor palace, as the rain held off for most of the day and the few showers that did hit were brief and the tree cover kept our diggers mostly dry.

This allowed us to catch up with some of the recording work we were unable to do during yesterday's downpours and also to begin planning the extensive brickwork of the octagonal turret, pillar bases and various walls that we have so far uncovered in Trench 4/5/6.

trench 7 layout
Opening T7 - the ranging poles mark the projected main wall line (facing south)

We continued to excavate the deposits next to the walls in this trench, and at the trench's south end uncovered a little more of the octagonal column base that we revealed yesterday - enough to show that the skinny wall line continues of the same alignment on the column's south side, into the trench's south/east section. A further south extension may be called for to follow the thin wall further south, which is beginning to get close to the break of slope that defines the edge of the platform that the walls are located on.

Later in the morning we began to look at laying out a new trench in the opposite direction, north of the large turret, to find out where the larger wall line runs and to see if it is connected to any significant structure to the north.

trench 7
Possible line of wall crossing T7 - note greyer and mortar rich line in centre

A stand of holly bushes prevented us from doing this immediately next to the turret, so we placed some ranging poles on the extended alignment of the wall, on the far side of the bushes, and laid out Trench 7 across where the wall should be.

So far we've only removed the first topsoil context in this trench, but it has revealed a line of mortar-rich rubble running between much cleaner looking rubble, almost exactly where the wall should be.

The next task in this trench will be to excavate that deposit which will hopefully reveal the intact remains of the wall beneath, or at least evidence of its robbing-out.

trench 1 wall
Revealing more of the wall in T1 (facing west)

Meanwhile in Trench 1 we further extended the trench at its eastern end where a line of bricks unexpectedly appeared two days ago.

An extension on the projected wall line at the opposite end of the trench yesterday failed to pick up the wall there only two meres away, so we are now excavating in the immediate area of the brickwork to find out how far it extends and what its purpose is. Hopefully tomorrow it should become clearer.

Tomorrow marks the halfway point of the dig and as usual is our public open day, from 11am to 4pm - there will be information on the palace and its history, a selection of finds including some found so far during the dig, activities for children and of course a splendid selection of palace walls under excavation. Our two recent books on the palace will also be on sale at a discount, so be sure to come and bag one!


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