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Archaeologists dig up Shakespeare’s cesspit

Archaeologists excavating at New Place have found what they believe might be William Shakespeare’s cesspit.

Although little remains of the property, the team, led by Birmingham Archaeology, believes it has identified a rubbish tip or cesspit used by the 16th century poet.

Fragments of pottery and broken clay pipe have already been retrieved from a muddy hole on the site, which they claim could yield some of the most significant discoveries about Shakespeare in decades.

The dig focuses on three areas of the property, which Shakespeare bought in 1597 when he returned to his home town from London having achieved fame – including the so-called knot garden at the rear of the building.

Dr Diana Owen, Director of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, which owns the site, said: “We do not know if the knot garden was an area used by Shakespeare – it may have been a yard simply used by his servants.

“But this could actually yield some fantastic results, especially if it was an area where rubbish was thrown or the cesspit was located.”

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