This is real-time archaeology. Ideas come and ideas go when more evidence comes to light. So yesterday we were quite convinced that there was a wall between the chancel and the nave of the Anglo-Saxon church. Today we know otherwise.
The fragment of wall with the tell-tale pink mortar, that yesterday we thought proved there was a heavily disturbed wall across the whole of the gap between chancel and nave, proved to be a dislodged fragment. In fact having dug down, the shape of the blocks we now see, particularly the one in the middle of the picture above, is very regular and we now believe they are in fact piers, supporting columns. To either side there are insteps where the chancel wall meets the stepped-out nave wall. These insteps would have provided bases for further columns. Thus there would have been four columns across the width of the gap between chancel and nave, supporting an arcade of three arches. This is a classic form found in other early churches, so Lyminge is now fitting more easily into the model.
Readers of this blog may remember that on the inside of the chancel wall are three strange “niches”. Such cuts into the wall are without parallel and we have formed the view that they may relate to burials cutting through the masonry. Towards the top of the picture above, you can see one of these niches. The dark patch with whiter soil to either side appears to be a grave, but this will have to be investigated further. It could demonstrate that these “niches” are therefore not original to the church and the result of later burials.
Further west we are exploring the stray fragment of masonry that is not part of the 7th Century church. It still remains unexplained.