CMZE - Gatehouse Excavation

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Tuesday, June 1, 1993 to Sunday, August 31, 1997

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A major feature of the site is a two-storey gatehouse with a large barrel-vaulted opening leading into the monastery precinct.  The first trenches opened in this zone were intended to locate the foundations of some sort of staircase which would have allowed access to the second storey (no internal means of ascent was evident).  The trenches produced a number of small finds which were predominantly concentrated in a deep ash pit.  Finds include a pair of antlers, large numbers of bronze fragments (possibly fittings from a box), a pair of scissors, a knife handle, and several coins of Andrea Contarini dated to 1368-82 CE.  These coins refuted the previously held belief that the location was uninhabited once the monks left at the end of the 13th century CE.

During the first season of excavation, a small square stone foundation which may have accommodated a spiral staircase was found.  However, it seemed inadequate in size and further extension of the trench revealed two steps of a staircase nearby which consisted of monolithic slabs of stone, probably taken from the ancient site.  The resultant external staircase may have been enclosed by some sort of wooden structure to protect the user from the weather.