In 2008, it was decided to investigate the site with a view to discovering the footprint of the Bishop's Palace. A Heritage Lottery bid was completed in conjunction with Oxford Archaeology East, who were previously Cambridgeshire County Council's archaeology team. The bid for a £50,000 grant was to involve local schools and the community in an archaeological dig entitled, Discover the Lost Bishop's Palace at Wisbech Castle.
Work on site commenced in July 2009 with a series of geophysical surveys conducted by Cranfield University. The results of these surveys identified areas which suggested underlying walls beneath the lawn.
The vaults in the garden were investigated and, for the first time, accurate plans were made showing the exact layout of the various passages. These plans clearly showed that Thurloe's Mansion had been located on this basement and identified areas for further archaeological investigation. Listed Building Consent was acquired to carry out a series of test pits in the vaults. In September, excavations commenced with the help of a mini-digger and on Wednesday 16th, volunteers arrived and directed by the professional team began to carefully excavate the areas identified and create additional test pits across the site.
During the following two weeks, twenty school visits took place bringing almost all local infant, primary and secondary schools to the site. Each school brought around 35 pupils, many were transported in by coach from outlying villages for a half day on site.
Open Gallery pictures below,
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