While digging the foundations for an office building, construction workers discovered architectural remains of what looked like an Elizabethan-era theatre. It turned out to be the Rose.
On Dec 19, 1988, the Rose excavations begin near the site of the Globe reconstruction. By May 14, 1989, the Rose excavations end. The next day, May 15, popular protest (including Patrick Stewart, Dame Peggy Ashcroft, Ian McKellan, and Dame Judi Dench) wins a reprieve for the Rose remains, which eventually get protection and a promise of re-excavation "at an appropriate time."
These first three photos were taken on 15 May, 1989--the day the Rose was saved. They appear courtesy of, and with special thanks to, Zelma Weisfeld.
|By 21 May, the remains are carefully covered with fine sand.|
|By 14 July, a solid concrete slab covered the Rose, so construction of the Rose Court Office Building can resume. Special sensors were also installed, to let archaeologists know if the remains are ever in danger of being damaged or destroyed.|
The Rose Theatre, as determined by its found remains, turned out to be smaller than anticipated. It was about 90 feet across, whereas the new Globe is about 100 feet across. Ten feet might not seem like much of a difference, but reducing the diameter of a circle by ten percent will also greatly reduce its area.
With the discovery of the Rose, Theatre Historians scoured their maps of late Sixteenth and early Seventeenth Century London, and attempted to determine the exact location of the Globe. By early October, they found it. On October 12, 1989, 9:30 am, the Museum of London announced the discovery of the remains of the original Globe near both the Rose discovery, and the New Globe construction.
Since the Globe's destruction in 1644, other buildings have occupied the site. The Anchor Terrace building was erected there in 1818 (Georgian period), and has received archeological protection from the British government, so we were able to uncover only a very small section of the Globe's foundations, and no further excavation can take place. By November 1989, the Globe remains were scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archeological Areas Act, protecting them forever.
|Here is a rough sketch of the small section of the Globe foundations that we were able to uncover. The architects of the new Globe studied them to see what they could learn about the original structure.|
|Globe scholars were able to extrapolate what little information we could glean and determine (roughly) where the center of the Globe should be.|
|The Globe reconstruction architects incorporated the Globe and Rose discovery information into their designs, reducing the number of sides from 24 to 20, confirming that what is nearly built in London is pretty close to the Globe that saw the premier of many of what are now classics of Western Dramatic Literature.|
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Updated on: 1 March 2002