Archaeologists from Birmingham are one step closer to a major excavation project which aims to find out more about William Shakespeare’s final years including what he may have thrown away.
An investigation into the historic potential which lies beneath New Place in Stratford, where the playwright died in 1616, is underway after experts revealed plans to dig up the 14th century site.
Experts from The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust have teamed up with Birmingham Archaeology to carry out a feasibility study which they hope will lead to onto significant discoveries.
Helen Robson, from the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, said: “The idea is to take an accurate record of New Place - mystery has always surrounded the later years of his life.
“It does have a very colourful history. In the past various members of his family owned the house then it was owned by a Reverend who was so sick of people gazing at his house that he knocked it down. It was excavated in 1962 but the findings were unclear because at the time methods were not very cutting edge. The idea is to revisit that and also cover other areas of the site.
“Hopefully it will be nice to learn a bit more about Shakespeare’s lifestyle, about the foundations, the walls, how big his house was and possibly find some of his rubbish. We think it might hold clues as to how he lived and build a clearer picture.
“If the outcome of the investigation is positive we want local people to join in an excavation as it unfolds so they can be hands on.”
Birmingham Archaeology’s Kevin Colls said the potential project was “really exciting and unique”.
He said: “As archaeologists, we rarely have the chance to investigate remains which are directly associated with the single individual, let alone one of the most important figures in history.
“Archaeology can build up a better picture of Shakespeare’s life and times.”
The tests will establish how much material lies underneath the grounds and the level of decay any surviving artefacts may have suffered in the house.