22 Jul 2022
Summer Dig - Day 11
It was a relaxed day's digging in Forty Hall today, as we approach the end of this year's summer dig on the site of Elsyng Palace, and we closed and backfilled trenches 2 and 3, and worked our way through the few outstanding recording jobs in trench 1.
We continued to excavate the deep rubble rich fill of our possible moat cut in trench 1, screening the spoil as it was removed, and at first it continued to produce a rich assortment of finds including fine copper-alloy pins and even fish bones, but towards the end of the day the rate of finds dried up somewhat and the rubble content of the context became coarser, due to variation in the original dumping process, so further excavation of this context may not be worthwhile considering the limited time we have remaining.
Meanwhile in trench 4 we pressed on in the morning to remove the ubiquitous pebble landscaping deposit to reveal the expected rubble/brickearth context beneath.
This trench was laid out on Wednesday on the projected line of the north range of the palace's outer courtyard, to find out whether and/or how it may meet up with our 'moat' feature.
At first it looked as though we had revealed a promising looking line of coarse rubble, almost exactly where we would have expected the inside edge of the building range to cross the trench, but unfortunately, having started to remove this rubble context, the alignment appears to have been a coincidence, and the trench is now looking suspiciously empty.
Previous trenches that we have dug, at the other (eastern) end of the building range, have found archaeology including intact brick floors just a few centimetres below turf level, but the archaeology in this trench, at the other end of the building range, does not appear to be as shallow.
This means that it will probably take quite a bit more work to conclusively confirm the absence or not of the building in this trench, and although we plan to get as much work done on it as we can tomorrow, we probably won't have time this year to properly finish the job, so we'll most likely end up covering the trench base with a tarpaulin and backfilling, so that we can return to it next year.