Throughout the week, the archaeologists carefully remove dumps of building rubble left behind when the friary was demolished, exposing the medieval buildings beneath. These remains are carefully planned, recorded and photographed and features of particular interest are excavated to learn more about the friary.
In Trench 2, rubble is removed from between walls E and F exposing mortar bedding for a tile floor which steps down from south to north. Tile impressions can still be seen on the mortar, providing clues to how the floor would have once looked. Part of a stone step also survives. At the southern end of the trench, wall E is found to survive partially intact above floor level, a rare discovery in Leicester. The remains of a doorway are found leading through it from west to east.
It appears, by chance, that Trench 2 has been dug along a long north-south corridor. Could the space between E and F represent one of the friary’s cloister walks? And if so, is it on the western or eastern side of the square courtyard or ‘cloister garth’.
Back in Trench 1, archaeologists discover that the surviving low stone wall at C has a flat top with a curving ‘lip’ over one side and no foundation. It looks like a bench built up against the north (robbed) wall of the room. Careful key-hole investigation of robbed wall D – avoiding the live cable! – finds a second ‘bench’. Between the two is evidence of floor tiling.
The benches are a major breakthrough, providing an important clue to which part of the friary has been found: this is a place where people could sit facing each other and talk. In a medieval friary, that would be the chapter house, which normally projected from the eastern side of a square cloister, making the corridor joining it in Trench 2 the eastern cloister walk. Objective 2 achieved
To the north of the chapter house, the ground between C and B appears to be outside the friary buildings. However, the patch of disturbed ground at B has large quantities of loose building rubble and may be a large robbed wall, possibly the southern wall of the church. Unfortunately damage from modern cellars makes it difficult to interpret the archaeology.
ULAS applies to the Ministry of Justice (PDF), under the 1857 Burials Act, for permission to exhume up to six sets of human remains. The plan is to investigate only those burials which are potential candidates to be Richard III: males in their 30s, buried within the church, ideally with potentially fatal battle injuries.