Enfield Archaeological Society

Founded in 1955, the Enfield Archaeological Society is active in carrying out research and fieldwork in and around the London Borough of Enfield, in order to understand and preserve its history.

Our main aims are: to promote the practice and study of archaeology in the district; to record and preserve all finds in the borough and encourage others to allow their finds to be recorded by the Society; and to co-operate with neighbouring societies with similar aims.

Membership is open to anybody with an interest in the past.

The Enfield Archaeological Society is affiliated to the London and Middlesex Archaeological Society; the President for the society is Harvey Sheldon BSc, FSA, FRSA

Latest News  

Dig With Us

All members of the society over the age of 16 are welcome to dig with us – no experience is necessary. We typically run at least one dig a year in the summer, on the site of Henry VIII's Elsyng Palace with other work often cropping up through the rest of the year.

More Information

 Announcing Our New Book!

First Stop North Of Londinium:

The Archaeology of Roman Enfield and its Roadline Settlement

£33.50 inc. p&p (uk delivery only)


cover

A definitive description and analysis of all the known Roman archaeology in the north London borough of Enfield, this monograph brings together antiquarian finds and re-presented and augmented reports on work from the 1950s to 1970s with the more recent excavations of the EAS as well as Museum of London Archaeology.

With prefatory chapters on aspects of the area including its prehistory, the volume documents what is known of the settlement that grew up here alongside Ermine Street, the road itself, a possible tannery, other settlement sites and often higher status burials.

A synthetic chapter examines the role of all small roadside settlements around Londinium in terms of function, chronology and their relationship to the provincial capital and discusses the possible economy of this area of the Lea valley.

With full illustrated stratigraphic and finds reports for over 45 individual sites (including samian ware, brooches, metalwork and important Roman glass finds), it presents the evidence for what may have been a broadly rural landscape, but with a quasi-urban settlement that may have reflected the needs of a cursus publicus system operating along one of the main roads of the province.

355 pages; 137 black and white and colour figures; 19 black and white and colour plates.


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Mail Order:

Send a cheque payable to "The Enfield Archaeological Society" together with your postal address to:

Enfield Archaeological Society
9 Junction Road
Edmonton
London
N9 7JS

Contact sales for more information.

Latest News

30 Jan 2018

2018 Dig Dates

We will be carrying out two main digs this year on the site of Elsyng Tudor Palace:

First from Monday 28th of May to the 3rd of June, and then again on the same site from the 11th to the 22nd of July.

We will be continuing to uncover the exceptionally well preserved remains of the palace bakery and hoping to find more intact floor surfaces and perhaps even more of the amazing bread ovens we found last year.

If you would like to dig with us you'll need to join the society.

Some frequently asked questions about digging with us are available here.

If you missed last year's dig, you can explore some of last year's trenches below!

See more of our models at SketchFab


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05 Aug 2017

Discover All Saints

Discover Edmonton and All Saints Church, on Saturday 28th October 2017.

You are invited to join with the Monumental Brass Society at their meeting looking at the history, monuments and personalities of Edmonton and All Saints Church this October. It should be a very interesting afternoon with blue guide Howard Medwell talking on “Edmonton through the ages” as well as talks on the history of the church, the monuments it contains and Charles Lamb who is buried in the churchyard. The newly restored tower will be open for those who wish to climb up. The afternoon will end with tea and cakes and is free to all, no need to book.

All Saints Church at 65, Church St, Edmonton, N9 9AT will be open from 12 midday, with the meeting starting at 2pm.

The Enfield Sociey

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23 Jul 2017

Forty Hall Summer Dig - Day 10

oven
bread oven with ash layer

Today was the last day of our summer dig, and although we spent most of the day recording and backfilling our trenches, the little digging we did do revealed one of the nicest palace features seen on the site in fifty years.

The trench extension in the south east corner of trench 2 was finished, revealing the beautifully preserved base of a circular bread oven, with the remains of the original Tudor kitchen floor in front, and within it, a skim of soot and ash from the last time the oven was fired, at least 360 years ago.

We now think this oven is probably a later replacement to the thoroughly robbed-out one we found nearby on day 9, and this likely explains why the rubble of the other oven was so coarse and included so many complete bricks.

oven
heat damaged brick base of oven

Unlike the demolished features elsewhere, the earlier oven was probably demolished during the palace's lifetime, when it was decomissioned and the replacement we found today built.

Interestingly, the construction of the newer oven is a mixture of brick and tile - the western half of the exposed wall of the oven (bottom of first 2 pics) being brick and the rest entirely made up of tiles.

Tudor bread ovens worked by setting a fire in the main alcove, and then raking the hot ashes into a pit below. The dough was then placed in the upper part, the oven structure retaining enough heat to bake it. Tiles were used in ovens because they are thinner than brick and so absorb heat quickly and more thoroughly.

Our ovens and the associated well worn kitchen floor are an exteremely evocative piece of archaeology and a significant discovery in the understanding of Henry VIII's palace, since this is the first time it has been possible to put a definite function to an excavated structure.

oven
the oven and kitchen floor in front

It may now be possible to make deductions as to the likely layout of nearby palace elements, since kitchens were never built very far from the main hall and dining rooms in a palace.

The hard work of post-excavation now starts, to make sense of all the complex stratigraphy and multi-phased structures this dig disovered. A full summary of the work will appear in the society newsletter in due course.

A huge thank you is owed to all our members who made this year's dig possible, especially those who stuck through to backfill despite the threat of torrential rain (which we just barely missed!)


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22 Jul 2017

Forty Hall Summer Dig - Day 9

oven
edge lain tiles (under root) and brick surface (centre)

Torrential rain and thunderstorms severely hampered work today, which was mostly confined to planning and some photography and finishing excavation in the two trench extensions we opened yesterday.

The extension that revealed the line of edge-lain roof tiles yesterday is now fully excavated, and revealed a heavily damaged area of edge-lain bricks in front of a skim of ash and rubble.

The evidence is strongly pointing to this being a thoroughly demolished bread oven, a theory that gained more weight as the other extension to the east began to expose a curved brick feature.

oven
possible bread oven

We think this may be the base of a more intact oven, with a semicircular front projecting into our brick floored room - the continuation of the floor we found yesterday runs in front of this feature and, as with the first oven the bricks in the floor here appear to be slightly blackened and burnt, which may be evidence of hot ashes being raked out of the oven onto the floor.

We've extended so far south now, we should be approaching the line of the substantial southern facade wall of the building we first found in 2014, so if these are ovens they probably had associated chimneys set in this external wall.

Being able to define the function of a building in this way is extremely exciting and a first for the site, and will go a long way to interpreting the arrangement of the palace complex - a key goal of our long term research project.

stoneware

As excavation has slowed so has the rate of finds, although we're still being drowned in stoneware jug fragments, including one nice decorated medallion bearing the arms of Amsterdam (pictured).

Unfortunately the bad weather meant we didn't see as many visitors as we often do on the open day of the dig. Hopefully the weather will be better tomorrow and offer one last chance for people to catch a glimpse of our kitchen - there is still a fair amount of trench recording to do and our second oven must be fully excavated and recorded so that it can be backfilled together with the rest of the site by the end of the day.


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20 Jul 2017

Forty Hall Summer Dig - Day 8

trench 6
wall in trench 6

A brief spell of rain slowed things down slightly this morning but thankfully cleared up by the afteroon, not delaying things too much.

We opened a new trench today (trench 6), to the north of trench 2, looking for a continuation of the partition wall(s) and possibly the floor in our palace building.

Not much progress has been made in this trench yet, but a wall has appeared, running north-south at the west end of the trench.

There's more work to do on it, but it seems to be more substantial than the narrow room partition walls in trench 2 and last year's trench, so may be more likely to be a proper full-height brick wall rather than a support for a timber framed construction as with the others.

stoneware
polychrome stoneware sherd

Decorated stoneware is definitely the theme of this year's dig - we can scarcely put a trowel in the ground without finding fragments of stoneware jugs/mugs - trench 6 has already produced several sizeable pieces including body, neck and base fragments.

Another bearded man also put in an appearance, similar in style to yesterday's, but with the lower part of his face rather than the upper.

We also had another fragment of a coat of arms decorated in the same multicoloured glaze as the piece with the figure of a man we found on day 6.

In trench 2, the brick floors are now alsmost fully exposed and the painstaking process of cleaning them for full interpretation, planning and photography has begun.

Interpretation will be no mean feat - there are evidently several phases of development to the upper floor surfaces alone.

brick floor
hole cut through the brick floors

Meanwhile, in the south east corner of the floor there is a feature causing much head scratching - the floor seems to have been cut through during demolition and a sizeable pit dug through it.

We spent much of today removing the rubble fill of this cut hoping to see signs of the large wall we recorded yesterday, which we know the upper floor is laid upon and looked to be running in this direction.

The hole has revealed substantial brickwork beneath both upper floors but it is not a wall - the brick work seems to consist of several layers including at least one course of roof tile, and some bricks seem to be laid edge-on as the floors are.

Could these be even earlier floor surfaces? Making sense of this feature is complicated by the messy nature of the demolition cut and will be an important job for tomorrow.


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