KUTAS Projects - current and recent work
In recent years KUTAS has run several major archaeological investigations: two phases of the Tolworth Court Farm excavations, and then a geo-archaeological investigation of a site beside the Hogsmill River.
The earlier excavations uncovered thousands of finds, and KUTAS continues to process and study these: cleaning, cataloguing, and storing. Most recently the group has completed the project 'Re-Packaging Kingston'.
KUTAS continues to monitor Planning Applications for their archaeological potential and works to ensure proper archaeological investigation where it is deemed necessary.
The Committee is always open to ideas on future projects, assistance with ongoing research, or input into creating exhibitions with our collections.
See below for more details and news....
KUTAS also cares for the finds from these projects, and has a great deal of finds processing expertise amongst its members.
KUTAS has recently completed the long-term project - 'Re-Packaging Kingston' - transferring its full collection of thousands of finds from Kingston excavations into modern packaging.
These finds had been cleaned and recorded, but though they were well processed, most were stored using bags, boxes, and labels that are not likely to stand the test of time – sandwich bags, shoe boxes, slips of paper! For the last two years KUTAS has therefore been undertaking a valuable re-packaging project, using the latest standards for bags, boxes, and labels.
As the finds are transferred to the new packaging and forms, there is a chance for re-assessment, and re-discovery, with new ideas and new ways of looking at and analysing the finds.
Finds Processing work on site - and regularly during the year - and all are welcome to attend, learn about the work, and help. See the events page for details.
Tolworth Court Farm Project
In 2000/2002 the Society undertook a dig at Tolworth Court Farm, an open farmland site in Worcester Park, adjacent to the Hogsmill River. They hoped to find the site of a medieval manor, shown as a moated manor in old plans and documents. No traces of the manor were found – it had probably been plundered to build Henry VIII's magnificent Nonsuch Palace.
The moat was detected, and the excavations found fascinating evidence of all those who had, since prehistoric times, passed across or lived on the site.
The site is probably that which is recorded in Domesday Book as the manor of Taleorde, held by John Picot.
In 1186 it passed into the hands of the de Planez family and, after several owners, in 1321 it came into the possession of Hugh le Despencer the younger. When he was executed for treason in 1326 an inventory of the property lists a moated house with two halls, various chambers, a chapel, kitchen and drawbridge.
Later well-known owners included the Fair Maid of Kent and in 1564 George Evelyn who built early gunpowder mills in the area.
The Hogsmill Project
In 2011 KUTAS successfully applied for funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund to carry out an investigative project at another site along the Hogsmill River. This was at Southwood Activity Centre – a long slim grassland and wild area alongside the Hogsmill River at Tolworth (near the A3), which showed interesting features, and historical research indicated was once an island between two channels of the Hogsmill, at one time called ‘The Long Meadow’.
The project aimed to investigate the environmental history of the site, discover how vegetation changed over the centuries, identify the river’s prehistoric channels, and find out what human beings might have been doing there.
The project involved the community, and gave local people, including Kingston upon Thames Scouts, the opportunity to try out archaeological survey and excavation techniques, such as test pitting, metal detecting, boreholing, and surveying.