Circumstances of excavation
Following planning permission being granted for an office development on this large site, south of the junction of Lower Brook Street and Rosemary Lane, permission was granted by Landlink Properties Ltd for prior excavation. The excavation was undertaken by the Suffolk Archaeological Unit during the summer of 1975.
Funding was only available for the partial excavation of the site and the depth of excavation from the existing ground surface was restricted by the developer. The decision was therefore taken to excavate the area of the former bowling green, on the north half of the site, to the rear of the existing buildings, because it had been terraced into the natural slope and deposits would be less deep. Documentary evidence also suggested that the cemetery belonging to the medieval chapel of Saint Edmund de Pountenay lay in this area.
The site was stripped mechanically to a level at which skeletons began to appear in numbers. This inevitably meant the removal of occasional skeletons which had been buried in shallow graves, but was necessary if the overall aims of the excavation were to be fulfilled. This level also varied across the site: the west end, where burial was denser, was left at a higher level than the east which was almost stripped to the natural gravel.
Following the demolition of 15 Lower Brook Street, the building contractor allowed a small excavation (Area 0598), of limited depth and duration, on the street frontage. The time constraints meant that the top 1.8m had to be excavated by machine under supervision. At a depth of 1.8m, excavation was continued by hand for a further 20-30cm and a series of features isolated and excavated. Natural was not reached in the trench.
After the excavation, a watching brief was carried out during ground works by the building contractor