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Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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England’s Drought Reveals 18th-Century Forest Path

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

ESSEX, ENGLAND—England’s continuing drought has revealed a path thought to date to the eighteenth century in Hatfield Forest, according to The Dunmow Broadcast. Hatfield Forest, now owned by England’s National Trust, was a royal hunting forest dating back to the medieval period. In the eighteenth century, it was purchased by the wealthy Houblon family, who lived in the adjacent estate. The family added a lake to the center of the forest, which was modified by landscape architect Lancelot Capability Brown in 1757. He also added The Shell House, a picnic room decorated with flints and shells brought back from the West Indies as ballast in slave ships, to the landscaping at the lake. Park ranger Ian Pease said the trail probably served as a carriage route from the estate into the forest to the lake and picnic area. An excavation of areas of the path, led by archaeologist Shannon Hogan, could provide information about how it was constructed and how it has been impacted by the modern walkers who visit the forest. To read in-depth about the history of a grand estate in Kent, go to “The Many Lives of an English Manor House.”

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