Saturday 26 August 2012

Trench 1 is completed, revealing a second, parallel robbed wall (D). Unfortunately, the presence of a live electrical or telephone cable makes it impossible to investigate further with the digger.

Trench 2 is dug, also 30m long, broadly parallel to Trench 1 and overlapping it by a short distance (Trench 2 takes less time as the depth of the modern rubble layer has already been determined). At the southern end are the remains of a stone wall (E); at the northern end is a north-south robbed wall (F) joined at right angles to a continuation of wall D. The space between E and F is relatively narrow, possibly indicating a corridor or two buildings built close to each other. More building rubble masks the medieval archaeology, leaving it unclear which idea is correct until the rubble can be removed.

Whilst digging Trench 2 an archaeologist finds the top of a medieval stone wall (E) – left of his foot
Whilst digging Trench 2 an archaeologist finds the top of a medieval stone wall (E)

Project objectives

  1. Find the remains of the Franciscan friary.
  2. Identify clues to the position/orientation of the buildings.
  3. Within the friary, locate the church.
  4. Within the church, locate the choir.
  5. Within the choir, locate the mortal remains of Richard III.

Choosing where to dig

Since Christian churches traditionally run East-West, a North-South slice through the location stood the best chance of picking up the church walls. Trench 1 was dug from the North end, Trench 2 from the South end. The exact position of the trenches and direction of digging was determined by, among other things, modern underground utilities identified by the GPR survey, space for spoil heaps, access to get the digger off-site, leaving sufficient support for existing walls, and fire exits from nearby buildings. Given the relatively confined nature of the site, the choice of precisely where to dig was therefore fairly limited.

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