Woking Palace Archaeological Project 2009
The first few days of the week beginning 20 July saw the setting up of the excavation HQ with portable office and containers being brought in, tools being collected from various stores and a digger brought onto the site to remove the turf over the designated trenches.
These trenches were then opened up more fully by experienced members of Surrey Archaeological Society under the supervision of Rob Poulton of SCC Heritage, the Director of the project.
The Community Archaeology programme led by Abby Guinness, Community Archaeology Officer for Surrey, welcomed its first participants on Wednesday 22 July. They were to investigate the area of the Great Hall where remains of walls were known to exist. During the course of the three week excavation well over a hundred members of the public will participate in this “Dig for a Day” scheme for those who have not had a chance to experience archaeology in the field before. A special day was set aside to allow accompanied children to participate.
Digging the Moat
Two further trenches were opened by volunteers from Surrey Archaeological Society to examine features identified in the project plan. A very large bank on the inside of the moat (in the area of the Copse) with a small ditch between it and the fishponds was sectioned but yielded little evidence of its date or purpose. A trench was opened across an in-filled former arm of the moat (above), recorded in the documentary sources as being filled during the reign of Elizabeth I in 1580/81, to examine the survival of evidence of events prior to that date.
Meanwhile members of QUEST from the University of Reading began to carry out a survey of the underlying geology by taking bore-hole samples across the site. The results were plotted onto the site grid. This together with the other geophysical surveys will inform the project plan for the future.
Slowly the evidence of buildings from the Tudor period was exposed. The foundations that were uncovered proved the buildings to have been of a substantial construction even if most of the material had been removed from the site in later years. Several phases of building could be seen in the remains of the foundations.
The ‘finds team’ working on site had mostly building material from the demolition phase to process but there were small quantities of domestic pottery and bones together with lead cames and small fragments of Tudor glass from leaded windows.
End of First Week: Aerial View
There will be plenty to do in week 2 to try to understand all the features that are beginning to emerge in the trenches.
Taking soil samples
The Hall's oriel window
View from the air