08 Jul 2024

Summer Dig - Day 2

Trench 2 (foreground) with position of last year's polygonal turret marked (bottom left) and the truncated wall (backround right). Trench 4 within the possible cellar being opened in the background (left)

A good day's work today on day 2 of our two-week exploration of the possible gatehouse of Elsyng Palace. Fortunately the weather stayed dry and we were able to make good progress in trench 2 where we have now finished removing topsoil and some of the thin skin of demolition rubble that we knew to expect from last year's dig.

Trench 2 is located in a previously inaccessible position between the angular turret we found last year and a short truncated section of wall nearby. We think that both of these features were part of the palace's gatehouse, but how they were connected was not clear. If the stratographic sequence in Trench 2 is similar to last year, we expect to find a layer of pebbles and another layer of rubble before we start uncovering in situ structure.

We also opened Trench 3 today on the extended line of the truncated wall with the aim of finding out if any more of the wall survives beyond the cut off point we saw last year. We removed topsoil and a gravel deposit from this trench but it is too early to have produced useful results yet.

Later in the day, making the most of the dry weather while it lasted, we also opened Trench 4, which has been positioned within what we think is a cellar inside the possible gatehouse building. The evenutal aim of this trench is to get to the bottom of the rubble fill that we found in the cellar last year. We only got as far as topsoil removal in this trench today.

carved brick
Carved brick fragment

brick window mullion
Fragment of a brick window mullion

Despite yesterday's rain and early finish we're making decent progress for day 2, and hopefully we should start seeing signs of Tudor structures fairly soon. The rubble deposit in Trench 2 did produce some tantalising finds today including several carved bricks - one from a window mullion and another with multi faceted curves, possibly from a column capital or perhaps a decoratve chimney, a possible clue to the architectural style of the gatehouse from which they may have been torn.

The weather forecast tomorrow does not look good and we may be in for a repeat performance of Sunday's deluge in which case we may not get much work done. If this is the case we hope to make it up later in the week when things look to get (hopefully) brighter!


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