Archaeologists Find Elizabethan Garden

Article excerpt

Byline: By Helen Gabriel

A team of Polish archaeologists have digitally revealed the hidden remains of Kenilworth's Elizabethan gardens using their expertise in 3D laser scanner technology.

The romantic garden created by the Earl of Leicester for Queen Elizabeth I is now set to be restored as part of an ambitious scheme at Kenilworth Castle in Warwickshire.

Stunning archaeological evidence discovered last year beneath the existing 1970s garden prompted English Heritage experts to try to reconstruct a more accurate representation of the garden that Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, arduously created to impress Queen Elizabeth I on her 19-day visit in July 1575.

Research by English Heritage consultant and garden archaeologist, Brian Dix, had already identified a number of definite features indicating the survival of elements of the former garden, including the rubble foundation of its central fountain.

Using a laser scanner, the Polish team, who are from English Heritage's counterpart organisation in Poland - The National Centre for Historical Monument Studies and Documentation (KOBiDZ) - has been able to produce an accurate 3D image of the 16th Century fountain.

This is the first time such cutting edge technology has been used in garden archaeology in the UK, but the team has been involved in a number of high-profile projects in Poland, including revealing some exciting 17th century garden remains at the Wilanow Palace near Warsaw.

The digital image of the foundations of the fountain at Kenilworth, which is accurate to within 3mm, has been produced around 80 per cent faster than the traditional method of painstakingly measuring and recording each element by hand - saving precious time for the English heritage, who are hoping to open the reconstructed garden by Easter 2007.

Mr Dix said: "It is part of an investigation by English Heritage to try to find out as much as we can about the original garden, so it can be reconstructed. …