Forty Hall Summer Dig - Day 9

22 Jul 2017

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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