I posted last month about the exciting search for a Tudor banqueting house that would be going on at Sudeley Castle during the last two weeks in May (along with additional details about these ephemeral structures – you can read it here). Well, the dig is done, the two trenches fully photographed (in enough detail to be able to create a 3D rendering to provide necessary context about depth), the pieces recorded and cleaned (well, they got their first, “field” cleaning, anyway) and weighed (the weight suggests the prevalence of the find). The artifacts include stones, fragments of pottery (many with a characteristically Tudor glaze!) and terra cotta, shards of glass, pieces of lead and iron, stones – even the jaw of a wild boar with a tooth still sticking out (and other animal bones from a suspected feast). Taken together with the field notes, the findings “strongly suggest” that a Tudor garden and actual banqueting house have indeed been found.
Now comes the fun part.
Over the next few months, the artifacts will be sent off to specialists for examination and analysis. Experts on Tudor gardens and practices will review the field notes (for example, the finding of clay soil in a circular pattern which would suggest a water feature right where one was expected). The glass will be separated into types (thick or thin, for example, to determine whether it was cups or lanterns or something else). The stones will be examined for makers marks and dated (it is expected that many of them will have been reused from nearby Winchcombe Abbey, which was demolished at the time of the dissolution of the monasteries – so the older dates will not disprove anything!).
After all the wonderful facts are in, the final report on the dig and its results will be published in December. The wonderful thing about DigVentures is that they are committed to making sure that all of their data, discoveries and interpretations are freely available online – so everything will be placed online as soon as it’s out so we can all share in this wonderful news (I’ll surely be posting about it – or you can follow them directly!).
The best part? This was a large dig, but it was only two trenches: they needed to make sure there would be a reason to go all out. In other words, for those of you who regret missing it this year, there is likely to be an even bigger dig next year…
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