London: Archaeologists from Britain’s Staffordshire University have unearthed the site of English poet and playwright William Shakespeare’s ‘kitchen’ at New Place, which was the bard’s family home in Stratford-upon-Avon at the height of his career for almost two decades.
The team uncovered a fire hearth and a cold storage pit, as well as evidence of the brew house where beer was made. Fragments of plates, cups and other cookware were also found, according to a university statement.
“These findings are really exciting. We knew that this area of the site was going to be important but we hadn’t been able to explore it until this year because a tree prevented us excavating,” said archaeological project manager for the Centre of Archaeology at Staffordshire University, Kevin Colls.
The findings are significant given archaeologists hadn’t found that much on the site dating back to Shakespeare’s era.
“The kitchen features including the oven and the fridge are very significant. This is the area of the house that Shakespeare actually lived in and tells us more about him and his lifestyle.” Said Kevin.
The dig has helped establish the size of New Place enabling the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust to commission new evidence-based drawings which depict an accurate version of how the house would have looked during Shakespeare’s ownership.
Alongside the findings contemporary to Shakespeare, the dig also revealed early medieval foundations and Iron Age archaeology.
“Finding Shakespeare’s kitchen proved to be a vital piece of evidence in our understanding of New Place. Once we had uncovered the family’s oven we were able to understand how the rest of the house fitted around it,” said chief of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s Research and Knowledge, Paul Edmondson.
A much richer picture of Shakespeare has emerged through the course of our excavations, he said.
The 5.25 million pound archaeological project is the most ambitious and permanent initiative to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death being celebrated throughout 2016. It is funded jointly by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic England and public donations raised through a host of initiatives spearheaded by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.
First Published | 4 December 2015 5:15 PM