Woking Palace

The Final Day of the Woking Palace Archaeology Project on the Day of Archaeology

The Day of Archaeology coincided with the final day of the Woking Palace Archaeology Project.  We are in our final season of a three year project which has seen us discover more about this fascinating site.  To find out more see: Friends of Woking Palace

For the 2011 season we have opened up three areas:  Trench 12 to look at the kitchens, Trench 13 to look at the gatehouse and Trench 14 to investigate buildings to the north of the site, possibly the chapel for the Palace or a later kitchen area connected to the Great Hall (part of its walls were uncovered in the 2009 season).

Trench 14 was excavated by members of the public taking part in archaeology for the first time as part of the ‘Dig for a Day’ scheme.  This year we have had over 160 local people taking part in the dig, including local groups such as Woking Brownies, and the U3A.

The last day of public participation was on Thursday 28th, and by this time both Trenches 12 and 13 had been completed.  However, there was still plenty to do in Trench 14, so it was all hands to the trench to finish excavating and tidy the site for photos at lunch.  The team on the Day of Archaeology mainly consisted of members of the Surrey Archaeological Society and Friends of Woking Palace who have supported the project throughout.

A video-blog has been created of the dig in progress: Woking Palace Video Blogs

The Woking Palace Archaeology Project is a collaborative partnership project involving and supported by Woking Borough Council, Surrey County Council, Surrey Archaeological Society, the Friends of Woking Palace, Heritage Enterprise (Surrey County Archaeological Unit), Archaeology South-East, Quest (University of Reading), and the University of Nottingham.

Find out more about archaeology in Surrey here:

Community Archaeology in Surrey

Exploring Surrey’s Past

Surrey Heritage

Join in the conversation at #surreyheritage

Abby Guinness
Community Archaeologist
Surrey County Council



Laura completing her first wall sheet WP2011

Woking Palace 2011

Father and daughter George and Beth finishing off their feature WP2011

Woking Palace 2011

How many volunteers can you fit in Trench 14? WP2011

The professional body for archaeologists

This may seem a million miles away from what you’d expect an archaeologist to be doing, but it is essential to ensure that the profession continues to develop and can provide a (yet) better service to the public and developers. And that’s the job of the Institute for Archaeologists (www.archaeologists.net).

So far today I have prepared a short statement welcoming the release of a planning advice note from Scottish Government. This is an update of a 17-year old document setting out the roles and responsibilities of developers and local authorities when it comes to archaeology. I was involved on behalf of the Institute for Archaeologists in an advisory/drafting panel convened by Scottish Government, and it’s very reassuring to see that nearly all of our recommendations have been included. It’s a big improvement over the earlier draft because it now makes clear that the work developers pay for should be done to quality standards, and there’s the biggest steer possible short of actually saying it (governments are always cautious about this) that work should be done by IfA Registered Organisations. So we’re moving away from simple compliance to a concern about quality.

Meanwhile, in England, I have been preparing comments on the consultation draft of the new National Planning Policy Framework, released with a fanfare (and an IfA soundbite in media release) on Monday. This document replaces all the existing government documentation about developer archaeology is secured. Again we have had lots of official and unofficial input into the process, but you can never be quite sure if the document to be released looks like the last official draft, the last official leaked draft, the last unofficially leaked draft or nothing you’ve seen before. In fact, it’s got most of the good bits in that we wanted, but with colleagues I’ve spotted some areas that need to be strengthened. And we’ll need other documents to explain how it’s to be interpreted – we’ve started already – in order to ensure, once again, that archaeological work is undertaken whenever its necessary (and never when it isn’t), as is of good quality every time.

And I’ve attended a meeting of our specialist group responsible for illustration and survey. They’ll be making sure that we provide all the services that are needed for these critically important parts of our discipline, and that we continue the good work of the Association of Archaeological Illustrators and Surveyors, which voted to merge with IfA last month.

And this evening I shall be doing what so many paid archaeologists do – no, not downing beers in the pub (though I might), but preparing to be a volunteer archaeologist at the weekend, guiding visitors to the archaeological excavation at Woking Palace, on behalf of the Friends of Woking Palace (www.woking-palace.org/index.htm), as part of the Festival of British Archaeology. Why not visit?

Peter Hinton, Chief Executive, IfA