HONEYWOOD GARDEN EXCAVATION 2014
Honeywood excavation 2014 - John Phillips writes:
The Carshalton & District History & Archaeology
Society is excavating in the back garden of Honeywood Museum by
Carshalton Ponds from 18 August.
Design for the 2014 excavation - click HERE
Excavation started today. We have removed the turf and part of the top soil. The only notable find was traces of the ‘knot garden’ which was created in 1990 and removed a good many years ago. Should get more interesting tomorrow.
CAPTION: Work commences.
have made steady progress today. We have removed the remains of the
‘knot garden’ which dated from the 1990s. We have also found the remains
of a gravel path with a chalk foundation running east-west across the
trench. It has been partly dug away possibly when the ground was
levelled to make the lawn. I suspect that the path dates from the late
18th or early 19th century but I can’t be certain.
Hopefully we will find some dating evidence tomorrow. The rest of the
trench looks like garden sub-soil. If there are interesting finds they
will be underneath.
Report 3 for 20 August 2014
day of rather unexpected developments. We began removing the gravel from
the ‘path’ to expose the chalk foundation. We then discovered that the
gravel was wider than the chalk especially on the south side. A while
later we found that the chalk rested on the gravel so that it was within
it and not a foundation at all. It is possible that a gravel path was
laid then raised by putting chalk and more gravel on it. If so the break
between the two layers of gravel could not be detected although it may
become apparent when the chalk is removed. We also found that the gravel
sloped down under the soil on the south side and it may do on the north
but we have not excavated this yet. All rather odd and enigmatic but it
will probably become clearer as work progresses. We are not much below
the base of the top soil and just beginning to excavate the older
Yesterday the trench was in a rather enigmatic state and I was hoping it would become clearer as we excavated more. Late this afternoon it did become clearer. The ‘track’ has developed into a wide foundation consisting of alternating layers of chalk and of gravel in orange sandy clay. This construction method is unusual and at the moment it is not clear why this was done. I suspect that the foundation underlay a walk along the north side of a pool. Tomorrow we aim to start excavating the ‘pool’ to see if it is really there. There have been very few finds so we are uncertain of the date of the foundation. It all looks quite promising and I think tomorrow may be interesting.
CAPTION: The chalk foundation partly excavated. A lower layer of chalk has since been uncovered to the right. The site of the suspected pool is to the left.
We have spent most of the day excavating the deposits on either side of the foundation. Steady progress but not much in the way of new developments. We appear to have reached the base of the garden soil over most – though not all – of the trench. Tomorrow we will probably start on some of the earlier deposits.
CAPTION: The foundation at end of work today.
The garden soil has now been removed from
most of the trench and we have seen earlier deposits. We cut a section
through the foundation and it looks as if it was constructed in two
stages. Both stages were very similar with a chalk foundation and gravel
surface. The later foundation was further south partly overlapping the
earlier one. There have been very few small finds so dating is difficult
– possibly early 18th century but this may change if we get
more evidence. Much of the trench bottom is now covered with a green
sandy layer which we have just started to excavate.
CAPTION: The section through the track with the two layers on the right
Report 7 for 24 August 2014
have finished excavating a large pit in the south west corner of the
trench. The objects in fill showed that this was fairly modern – late 19th
or early 20th century. There seems to have been a metal plate
laid at the bottom which has largely rusted away. The iron plate
suggests that this was not an ordinary flower bed and I wonder if it was
something to do with the ARP Wardens (air raid precautions) who occupies
the house in in the Second World War but this is speculation.
Report 8 for 25 August 2014
No work today due to the weather
Report 9 for 26 August 2014
No work today due to the weather
Report 10 for 27 August 2014
very interesting day. We have continued to excavate in the section on
the east side of the trench without finding anything very noteworthy. A
nice clay tobacco pipe bowl of about 1690-1710 will help with the
dating. Pipes of this type are fairly common at Honeywood and are
roughly contemporary with the construction of the earliest parts of the
Report 11 for 28 August
No work today - resumes
Report 12 for 29 August
section on the east side of the trench is now largely excavated to the
top of the gravel. There are clearly patterns in the gravel but we are
so close to the water table that we can’t excavate them so work has now
stopped. Will be back filling tomorrow and over the next few days I will
have a think about what we have found and not found.
Report 13 for 30 August 2014
We did a small amount of extra digging today and several remaining recording jobs. The only find of significance was the remains of a robbed out foundation which was exposed in the bottom of the big pit in the southwest corner of the trench. I think the structure ids likely to have been fairly recent – most likely 19th century. The trench is now partly backfilled and I am going to have a think about what we have found. I will post something in a few days.
Bottom of the big pit showing traces of the robbed out wall around a
square area of clay.
of the odd things about Honeywood is that the ground floor of the house
is lower than the back garden. The excavation suggests that the garden
has been raised and that house respects the earlier ground level.
Unless otherwise stated, the text of the Reports on this page is Copyright © 2014 Carshalton and District History and Archaeology Society
Images are Copyright © 2014 Friends of Honeywood Museum, John Phillips and Elizabeth Price