• The walls, and<br />staircase, for Henry VIII
  • What we've<br /> discovered so far!

Woking Palace Archaeological Project 2011

Week 2 – Whatever the Weather...!

This week has been one of contrasts. We have experienced all that a British summer can offer –rain, wind and brilliant sun. We have donned waterproofs in the drizzle and carried on until the increasing rain closed the trenches; we have huddled under the shelter of trees until it dripped through onto us, then packed close together under gazebos, tents and in the various portable offices on site in the hope it will pass and we can get back to work. Valiant Friends of Woking Palace have served warming teas & coffees to keep the spirits up! We have scrapped mud from our tools and hung out our gloves to drip and then dry.

Towards the end of the five days of digging the skies cleared and sent us scrambling for hats and sun cream so we could continue uncovering the story of Woking Palace and catch up on lost time. Although some parts of the southern-most trenches are still waterlogged the archaeology has been examined in all areas opened this year and the story of this enigmatic site is being slowly teased out.

In addition to those digging, directing and processing finds, the team from Reading University has been on site carrying out further scientific investigations.

As always the vital work of recording the site has continued, be it written accounts in site note books or photographic recording rectified by computer programmes. Throughout the week the finds processing team have dealt with a monumental amount of material which has been sorted, weighed, washed , marked and recorded. They continued to work when those in the trenches had to admit defeat and head home. Among the interesting finds are tiles, carved chalk from early buildings, pottery from the 13th to 16th centuries and a large quantity of bones including deer antlers.

In the trenches allocated for Community Archaeology, each day has seen a new group of members of the public gradually reveal brick structures that seem to be related to the Tudor and later periods of the site. The first feature to be uncovered seems to be a drain made of reused brick which may be from the period of farming after the demolition of the Tudor Palace. On the final day of the week massive brick features began to emerge. These will be investigated further next week.

In the trenches close to the former gatehouse the relationship of walls is becoming clearer. They pre-date the creation of the Tudor Palace and show several phases of the earlier history and on into Tudor times. In the trenches to the south and west of the vaulted stone building it has not been possible to carry out a lot of digging because of flooding in the trenches but even here it is possible to begin to see signs of the older buildings on the site and to uncover more of the kitchen rubbish deposits from the 13th and early 14th centuries.

Video Blogs for 2011 and 2010
View the video blogs on the Exploring Surrey's Past website: www.exploringsurreyspast.org.uk/wokingpalacevideoblog.

Working together

Working together

Drying the gloves

Drying the gloves

The Gatehouse near the moat

The Gatehouse near the moat

Digging it up - and cleaning it

Digging it up - and cleaning it!

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