Broadcast 5 February 2012
Wessex Archaeology was commissioned by Videotext Communications Ltd to undertake a programme of archaeological recording and post-excavation work on an archaeological evaluation undertaken by Channel 4’s ‘Time Team’ within the current settlement of Dunwich, Suffolk. This consisted of Area 1, the site of the Beach Car Park (adjacent to the Flora Tea Rooms) (NGR 647894 270702), and Area 2, Greyfriars (NGR 647772 270366). Two trenches and a testpit were excavated in Area 1, thought to be the approximate location of the Hospital of the Holy Trinity, also known as the Maison Dieu (SMN SF142). Although no medieval structures were located, the presence of medieval pottery, window glass and stone mouldings suggested the proximity of high status, probably ecclesiastical medieval buildings.
Area 2 encompassed the precinct of a Franciscan friary, commonly known as Greyfriars (SMN SF40). A trench over the medieval town ditch in Area 2 confirmed previous work in locating a large ditch with an internal bank. Pottery from this feature, dating between the late 11th and 14th centuries, continues to support the idea that this section of ditch pre-dates the friary complex. Although the height of the bank was substantially reduced it was not clear whether this was deliberately levelled as was the conclusion drawn from earlier excavations.
Further information about the layout of the friary complex was mostly obtained from the geophysical survey, which indicates several possible structures to the south of the church. Medieval window glass and decorative stone mouldings were recovered from a trench situated on what was believed to be the south-east corner of the nave.
A further trench within the precinct located a quarry pit which could not be conclusively dated. As this feature did not truncate any structural remains and contained no demolition material in its backfill, there is the possibility that the pit was concerned with construction rather than demolition on the Site.