Community Dig 2023 group

Website report on the Hyde900 2023 Community dig

datePosted on 07:27, February 14th, 2024 by Website Admin


Hyde900 2023 Community dig involved three back gardens and a total of five trenches, with over 200 people of all ages taking part. The dig took place over the August Bank Holiday weekend 26th to 29th August with over 150 volunteers taking part. All three sites yielded some amazing finds and added considerably to our understanding of the layout of the inner court of the abbey.

The excavations took place in gardens of both King Alfred Place (no 19) and King Alfred Terrace (Nos 8 and 14). We are indebted to the householders for allowing us to dig their gardens.

Once again our advisory team consisted of Dr David Ashby of the University of Winchester (Archaeology), Dr Dave Stewart (Geology and Cartography) and Dr John Crook (Architecture).

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14 King Alfred Terrace (Hyde2023 14 KAT)

datePosted on 21:39, February 10th, 2024 by Website Admin

Courtesy of Chris and Anne Prior

Supervisor Mike Brace


A single “L” shaped  trench was located between 8 and 10 metres to the south of the major N-S wall the foundations of which included the 12th century cloister arch pieces (voussoirs) reused in the reconstruction of the cloisters partially destroyed in 1141.

The purpose of the northern most area was to establish whether there were significant structures to the south of the major cloister wall seen during garden work in the ‘90’s and excavated in the Hyde900 2017 dig (trench 6)

 The purpose of the southern most area was to investigate the position of the culvert servicing the cloister facilities believed to run parallel with the south range of the cloisters (the western end found during the Hye2022 dig – trench 34)    

Trench 44

 The east – west surface was a flower bed and the north south section remaining was covered by a patio removed prior to the dig. The first 100mm layer was common across both arms of the trench, and comprised dark topsoil with some small chalk specks and a few lumps. Below this was an obvious layer of bright yellow building sand varying between 50mm and 250mm over the whole of the trench. This was associated with the original build of the adjacent house in the 1890’s.             Below this the E-W portion of the trench comprised topsoil of approximately 350mm with a mix of many modern, post medieval and medieval finds – typical of the experience in the many other trenches in this garden. The garden exhibited a wider range and greater density of finds than in any other of the gardens where excavations have taken place. 

Underlying this, over virtually the whole N-S length of the trench, there was approximately 200mm deep layer which comprised abbey demolition rubble with very large chunks of chalk, medieval floor and roof tile fragments, glass, slate, oyster shells together with Roman pottery. Two (later on four) chamfered, firmly placed, masonry blocks appeared but with no foundation material beneath. At the north west corner of the trench a layer of sandy clay with inclusions of large chalk blocks, flint, nails and pottery, possibly floor make up. Below this was a consolidated floor surface consisting of firm clay, sand and ???.

The north of the E-W part of the trench was a very firm row of large flints with consistent dimensions (120mm X 120mm) forming the edge to a firm cobbled type surface. This proved to be, following an extension to the north, at least 1metre by 1.5 metres. The top 200mm of the excavation of the extension comprised a continuation of the topsoil with the usual range of finds for this garden followed by a continuation of the sandy layer to the south.  

Cleaning of the south part of the N-S trench showed that this may have been the remains of a robbed out wall formed from sand and chalk, possibly associated with the abbeys kitchens. Unstratified finds from the trench included a 15th century Flemish token and a 1750 George II (early) farthing.

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