Digging For Greenwich

Last week, the strange submerged foundations we were talking about a few months ago finally got their day in the trenches. A team of volunteers, led by a professional archaeologist, excavated what was possible 17th century park keeper’s lodge.

It could have been drier when Gemma and her husband started out with the others, but the rain did clear up, and here are some photos she took of the dig:

It seems to mainly be foundations – fairly significant given that most vernacular structures were just built on the earth at the time (and often of wood). I wonder if that could mean it was a smarter building than first thought? I have no idea.

If you recall, the reason the bricks came to light in the first place was the huge amount of rain we had last spring, which washed the soil away from the ground, especially around the roots of trees:

By the end of the dig, they had certainly amassed some finds:

And although I’m yet to hear any conclusions (I guess they’ll take a few months yet) there do seem to be some interesting things to conclude when they do. Like the quality of these roof (?)  tiles, for instance:

Or this, one of at least two trays worth of general finds:

While we’re waiting for the results of the dig, Stephen has alerted me to the Digging For Britain series – episode four of which includes Greenwich - the 2005 dig of the palace chapel (which none of us got to see, hurrumph) and which may answer the question we were asking a few months ago as to what the remains of the structure on the foreshore (below) might be:


the attachments to this post:

stephen foreshore low
stephen foreshore low

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6 Comments to “Digging For Greenwich”

  1. Dazza says:

    ‘Digging for Britain’ was on last week sometime, so you’ll have to use the BBC Iplayer to watch it again.
    It was quite an interesting one as it dealt with the Tudors (who else would be associated with Greenwich? LOL)

  2. EnglishRose says:

    Oh, how I wish I’d been able to participate in this dig! Sadly I didn’t find the email from the organisers until I emptied my junk folder late last week – harrumph! Memo to self: check junk folder more regularly….

  3. Kat says:

    I would have loved to have participated in this. I am an avid Tudor enthusiast and would love to find out more particularly about history on my doorstep in Greenwich! Hope they do something similar in future that doesnt unfortunately coincide with my holiday plans!

  4. Steve says:

    We were there on Friday, struck gold with the weather and spent a merry 3-4 hours digging up some of the foundations.

    Had to leave earlier than expected as I had revision to do for course the next day, but we made sure we finished our alloted task before we bailed.

    Would love to find out what the building was!

  5. Natalie says:

    Living in Australia, I only just watched two episodes of the BBC series ‘Digging For Britain’ and absolutely loved them! I am a huge Tudor fan and so very much enjoyed the episode focussing on the Tudors. I love how people from long ago can be brought back to life through archaeology. A dream of mine is to one day participate in a dig. Must be so exciting!

  6. Nikki Smith says:

    I wish I had been on this dig! I’ve been on a few digs but this is very close to my heart.

    My family had been Park Keepers at Greenwich for over 100 years!

    I have records of letters they have written to Princess Sophia and even have a business card.

    I know the the house had a garden with railings and backed on to an orchard and that there was a wooden privy in the back garden as there is a detailed description of it in the coroners report of my GGGGGrand Uncle John Esgleston – poor soul commited suicide there in 1820. He was the Park Keeper at the time, a title he had inherited from his father.

    Is there any chance of finding out any more about this or getting to help in some way?