Holme Cultram Abbey Excavation 2015

Holme Cultram Excavation 2015

We have finished our 2015 season at Holme Cultram Abbey. We worked in the same field as 2014 (south of the church) and this year’s aims were to:

  • Investigate further the building, thought to be the laymans infirmary, that was discovered in 2014. We wanted to get a plan of the building and find evidence of use if we could.
  • We opened up a trench in an area that was first targeted in 2008. During this excavation, the corners of a few graves slabs were caught in the trench. One of the grave slabs had been inscribed with cursive Lombardic script, and the other had not been uncovered enough in the trench to see if it had any information on it. So this season, we aimed to find these grave slabs and work to that level in order to find out if there are more grave slabs in the eastern part of the cloisters and to get the information from them.
  • We wanted to understand the arrangement of the eastern part of the cloisters and see the relationship between the graves, cloister walls and walkway.

The season was a great success, with the weather behaving perfectly in order for us to crack on and get both trenches opened and investigated. In trench one, despite the poor state of preservation, we found the cloister walk and the grave slabs seen in 2008. However, no further grave slabs survived. We also established the position of the east range and the chapter house.

Our second trench revealed much better preservation of walls and their foundations. We found the back of the cistern, with its 2 inlets. We found the walls of the building that we caught in 2014, though we did not get the  south gable end. This may be under the current farm buildings. Below the foundations of the building, we discovered that there has been extraction of material, which left a large pit. This was then filled in and built over. Our walls had buttresses to help support it, though the partition wall in the building showed signs of subsidence.

Photos in the gallery below illustrate the differences in the preservation in the trenches.

We once again would not have been able to do this without the support of the volunteers who came out to help us excavate. A big thank you to all those who were able to come to site, and a thank you to those of you who came to visit us to learn what we have been doing.

The final report from this season is available to download at the top of the page.