Another lovely Autumn day here on site enabled our team of seven to continue excavating this old mill, set in the tranquil countryside. Continuing on from last week, more of the Machine Room floor bricks were removed to expose the extent of the metal sheeting underneath, which was installed when the mill was fully functioning to prevent water seepage from below. The whole sheet was around 120cm x 77cm, so quite a significant size, and it was covered with cinders, containing tiny coal fragments, to level surface for the bricks to be laid on top.
Removing some of the brick flooring
The remaining metal sheet now clearly visible.
Meanwhile at the rear south-west wall the heap of mixed sandstone and building rubble was gradually being reduced by strong men wearing hard hats and wielding shovels as others wielded trowels. Sadly, no significant finds have appeared yet here, although everyone would dearly love to find bits of old mill machinery. Two small items of interest did surface however. One was what looked like a small metal stylus pointed at each end, the sort possibly used in conjunction with a waxed tablet, and the other was a tiny doll's leg, probably porcelain. The latter either belonged to a doll's house doll, or the baby of a larger doll.
The new discovery of a filled-in opening.
Today’s excavation of the rear floor of the Machine Room revealed lots more china, bottle and window glass and animal bones within the rubble. A heavy metal cooking pan was also found. Finally, sitting on the bedrock base was an impressively large circular metal band that has yet to be properly identified.
Our Chairman MikeField and his wife Jane were on site today too. Mike was interested in the arched feature cut into the stone on the Machine Room back wall, seen in top of photo below, which he thought might have been used to support a wooden beam.
Mike also offered to take away a sample of the large metal sheet found last week beneath the Machine Room brick floor. He feels that it needs closer examination, particularly to determine if it might be a recycled mill part.
Later Terry and Mike went up to Winnall farm to re-examine the mill stones that originally came from Machine Room.
Three ladies trowelling to find the bedrock floor.
A young visitor Cameron gets a taste for archaeology.
Meanwhile Gareth, who was overseeing young Cameron (he came with his sister who's a new member), started taking the various levels of the bedrock base exposed in the Outhouse and Livingroom floors last week along with the the yard area above exposed today.
Possible last excavation day for NWAGs 2018 season celibration BBQ
There was a good turn out of members today, plus visitors, for what was considered to be possibly our last day out on site. To celebrate another year’s successful dig, and with the farmer’s permission, we had a barbequed lunch and enjoyed Sam’s wonderfully cooked sausages and burgers.
Yet another nice sunny day on site and still pleasantly warm, although everyone wonders how much longer this will last!
Last week's excavations had revealed a purposely blocked up area in the south-west sandstone wall, so this week Terry was determined to investigate the extent of this sandstone base beneath the cottage. He and Gareth lifted a tile in the above Ante Room of the cottage as well as in the Livingroom and, as seen in the photos below, after removing 20cm of mortar, ash and sand, it revealed that it does indeed continue on.
The Ante Room Floor tile lifted
The Livingroom floor tile lifted
Sam emptying yet another wheelbarrow of excavated soil.
Sam and Keith continued to remove the heap of soil and debris from Machine Room’s south west corner, assisted by Jennie. The landowner, Tony Symonds, also made a visit today and is kindly arranging for a digger to come and clear away some more of the soil in mid November.
More floor bricks in the Machine Room removed
Meanwhile Francesca continued to removed even more bricks in here to leave the large metal sheet clearly visible.
This week, with heavy rain forecast, the group decided to stay indoors and sort some of the finds. With the promise of some of Terry's scrumptious homemade bread and soup for lunch, eight members gathered in the dry to tackle some of the finds trays that have been mounting up in our storage shed.
The finds shown below came from the building rubble in the Machine room at Winnall Mill just recently. The horse shoe is large, as you can tell from the scale measure, and probably came from a working horse, perhaps owned by the last miller. The shallow, heavy oval pan below also came from the same area and may have been used for cooking on the range in the cottage.
The building debris in that rear corner of the Machine room lies directly below what used to be a pantry, so the chances of the bits of china, pottery, animal bones and glass amongst it originating from there is quite high.
A large horse shoe found on Machine Room floor.
Is this a Skillet?
While Tina, Valerie Margaret and new member, Ian, cleaned more of the Winnall finds, along with other finds, Terry Sam, Francesca and Gareth sorted the finds from Furnace Farm excavated earlier in the year. In the process of searching for the location of the Furnace, it was discovered that the very overgrown foundations in the upper field actually belonged to some old cottages demolished in 1948. After seeking advice from an expert on old Furnace sites, the team was redirected to a more likely location in the lower field. Accordingly, and to avoid confusion while recording the finds later for a report, it was decided to treat each as a different site with a their own WSM nos. and to separate the finds to match.
It is one of the quirks of archaeology that, even when the ground has been geophysed first, the excavating team may still have to revise their original plans!
Anyone for soup?