Who’s there? Doris. Doris who? Doris locked, that’s why I’m knocking!
Ok enough of the bad jokes! However what we found on site this week was no joke… we indeed found a Roman door. To quote our timber specialist, Damian Goodburn, the largest and most complete example of its type to be found in London… possibly Britain!
The door was found within a build up of organic material; unfortunately only half of the door was uncovered as it had been truncated by 1950’s piles. It was found alongside other planks of wood and it has been suggested they were laid down as a surface so that people could traverse the wet slippy mud… much like we lay boards down on site today! There have been other areas on site where timber boards have been found and interpreted in the same way.
It is an oak panelled door with a molded frame. A small wooden rod was attached at one side – possibly this would have acted as the hinge. This rod could have fit into a hole above the door in the frame, and below in the floor, allowing the door to pivot round to open or close. This rod appeared to be a later addition, indicating the door was repaired during its life.
After the door was planned, it was lifted carefully by excavating the deposit around it and then cutting the soil underneath with trowels. It was then placed onto a board and wrapped up with clingfilm to protect it and keep it damp. The door will be taken into our office where it will be cleaned, photographed and drawn.
Wooden Roman doors are very rare, although there are other known examples in Roman London. At No 1 Poultry a three plank door was found, again though this door had been laid down as a surface. The Poultry door was more complete than this one, however it was a much simpler design.
For more information on Roman doors, visit the Museum of London website.