Spectacular Finds In Hyde Dig

01
May
2018

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As the 4-day dig on the latest quest to discover more of the history surrounding Hyde Abbey in Winchester came to a close, the word from the dig team was that the findings had been ‘spectacular’. It looks like a fair bit of recycling had been going on.

Our contact at the dig, David Spurling, told us that they had revealed more of the stonework of the original Norman cloister than they had ever dreamed of, so we went down to have a look.

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Stuart Rippon (pictured above) was overseeing the dig at 15 King Alfred Terrace and you can see just how far down they had managed to dig down to a hard layer: “Because we had found some evidence last year of walls and fancy masonry in the adjacent garden, we wanted to see if those features extended.

“We have found some lovely tiles and masonry. It’s been very exciting for us especially finding the tiles.” Stuart says they will record everything they found for future archaeologists and infill: “The owners can put their shed and patio back now!”

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Archaeological consultant Dr John Crook (pictured above in yellow) says the event has opened up a lot more on the domestic buildings of Hyde Abbey: “Last year we got an inkling that we were going to find exciting things. We pulled out various bits of the 12th century cloister which had been used in a completely different building. We don’t think we even knew what that building was. We’re now clear that we’re in one of the major buildings of the Abbey, probably the refectory given its position on the south side of the cloister.

“We know the date of the wall (14th century) because we also did some carbon dating on the mortar to try and narrow down times. What this now means is that in the 14th century there appears to have been a pretty major rebuild; the old cloister was taken down and used elsewhere. Where we are standing right now is where the monks were noshing on their lunch!

“What we’ve learned also helped us explain more to people who came round on the Open Day about what we were doing – we could tell a proper story instead of just having the tantalising glimpses on what we discovered previously. If you can identify a building and who was in it, the discoveries bring everything to life.”

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Part of a tile discovered over the weekend.