Woking Palace Archaeological Project 2010
Back on Site Again - Week One
The eagerly anticipated second season of archaeological investigations at Woking Palace has begun! Guided by the results of the investigations in 2009, the Woking Palace Archaeological Project is once again in the field, funded as in the previous year by Surrey County Council, Woking Borough Council, the Surrey Archaeological Society and the Heritage Lottery Fund with ‘in kind’ assistance from Archaeology South East (a unit of University College London), QUEST (a unit of the University of Reading) and the Friends of Woking Palace.
It is expected that over the three weeks of excavation in July nearly 200 members of the public will participate in the Community Archaeology trench with over 50 experienced members of the Surrey Archaeological Society involved in digging the other trenches and processing the finds. There will be an Open Day on Sunday 1st August for members of the public to come between 11am and 4pm to see the results of this year’s excavations before the trenches are then back-filled.
This year’s season of excavations began on Monday 12th July when volunteers from Surrey Archaeological Society arrived to set up the site HQ immediately outside the moated site with the kind permission of Burhill Golf and Leisure.
After marking out the position of this year’s trenches, on Tuesday 13th July Rob Poulton, the excavation Director, supervised machining of the top soil from those trenches from last year which were to be re-opened and from new areas to be investigated in 2010.
Once the topsoil had been removed experienced volunteers then began the cleaning of the newly machined trenches prior to formal excavation commencing on Wednesday 14th July.
One of the new trenches has been laid out to examine buildings fronting the River Wey, possibly once the site of the Tudor Queen’s Apartment and later the site of an Elizabethan Long Gallery.
Meanwhile, the Community Archaeology programme was getting into full swing. Some of last year’s beginners returned for a second short experience of digging and joined many who had never dug before to work on the site of a major brick building of the Tudor period, possibly the King’s own apartments.
A new trench was opened to the west of the standing buildings to investigate features indicated by the geophysical survey in 2009.The features that appeared as excavation progressed seem to be the remains of very large “tile on edge” hearths, probably associated with kitchen activities dating back to before the major changes made to the Palace in the middle of Henry VIII’s reign.
The finds processing team have been busy on site dealing with the material coming out of the trenches and we have had a number of organised school visits to the site as part of a programme to encourage young people to learn more about their local area and its history.
Much has happened in this first week, and we are now set for a very interesting second week of excavation.
Revealing tile-on-edge hearths
Preparing the trench
Down by the moat