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Digging up evidence of the past.

ARCHAEOLOGICAL features in the North Courtyard have been preserved and are now on show, giving visitors a greater understanding of the site and some of the changes that have gone on over the years.

As well as confirming the presence of buildings known to have been demolished in the 19th century, the excavations also uncovered previously unknown features including a large icehouse outside the northern wall.

The six metre deep domed chamber would have been filled with ice which stayed frozen all year round, and was used to cool food and drink in Aston Hall itself. The dome was covered with an earth mound and the entrance passage faced north with two doors along it.

Following its excavation-anarcheological recording, the icehouse has been filled back in as this is the most effective way to ensure its survival for future generations.

Excavations also revealed the bakehouse and brewhouse to the east, and the laundry to the west. There was a large, arched water culvert at the west end of the range, with the base of a tower-like structure over it. A large, whitewashed cellar was later added at the east end of the range, which was used to store milk, butter, cheese and cream.

CAPTION(S):

Original features: Various views of excavations that have unearthed fascinating facts about the history of the Hall, including the ice pit which would have been filled with ice to keep food and drink cool all year round.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Jul 16, 2009
Words:242
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