Voyages to the House of Diversion 
Seventeenth-Century Water Gardens and the Birth of Modern Science

February 2019 -Stars and Snowdrops Plus


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After a couple of months lay off it was good to get things back together with a big tidy up to prepare for the open weekend of 'Stars and Snowdrops. despite strong winds and occasional rain we managed to open up the pop-up museum showing for the first time some of the amazing range of finds from last summer. new sign boards were also installed for visitors to guide themselves round with plus we were able to have someone on hand in both the museum and down on the dig site to answer visitors' questions for most of the weekend. So all in all a great start to the new year of digging.



February
Some of our first visitors to the pop-up museum early on Sunday morning after we had done a lot of mopping up, note lots of extra ropes to tie the marquee down in advance of Storm Eric.



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Details of the display showing some of the garden urns and the fountain bowl to the wider public for the first time.




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Out on the archaeology trail with the first two stops looking across to the island and back to the castle.




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The cascade newly weeded and brushed down and the view up into 'Mesopotamia'.




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Plenty of warnings and barrier tape to greet visitors to the main dig site whilst the second sluice looks a little sad and abandoned... we will return.




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Another clean up of the trench on the far side of the water parterre.




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The trench across the wall to the south looks increasingly interesting with two phases of wall construction and a curious square setting of stone, more to investigate here.




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A general view looking north across the water parterre/House of Diversion and a view of the east terrace plus drifts of snowdrops.




February
... and finally some strimming had been done prior to our visitors arriving and this is the top of the small mound I had long fancied as the site of a seat or summerhouse of monument of some kind but right in the middle is a huge block of concrete so now I'm not so sure.



After Stars and Snowdrops it was on with the first serious work of the new season. This involved some major root removal and soil shifting in the trench extension to the west, the one looking for a possible outer wall to the moat and finding... nothing ... so far. Meanwhile up on the island and above the line of the wall once the surface of the debris field had been photographed we made a start of removing it and rapidly came upon the remains of the rubble core of the wall standing quite tall at this point. On the Saturday after Stars and Snowdrops we had the pleasure of welcoming members of the Friends of Oxford Botanic Garden to the re-popped-up pop-up museum and a tour of the gardens.




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Peter and Yefren extend the extension on Tuesday whilst Ian continues on Wednesday as Chris scrapes away a winter's worth of damp leaves.





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Just clearing out the last of the east extension, it's looking deep but no features.                                          Helen contemplates the first traces of walling as we remove tiles and plaster from the site.