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?
Due to the bad weather (it actually snowed that day!) there was no excavating done this week. Instead everyone stayed inside in the warm and processed some of the many finds unearthed this year. For the uninitiated, this involves washing the finds from each tray, already carefully bagged and numbered so that their original source on the site could be traced. Once they are dry, and easier to examine, the items from each bag are weighed and recorded according to their material class (ie cermaics, glass, metal, etc), after which they are then entered onto a database. This helps us to date the site and build up a picture of its past life. Below is a nice example of one recent find from Winnall Mill.
Part of a brown pot found on the Machine Room floor at Winnall Mill
Terry talking to Victoria Bryant in front of our own display.
On Saturday 17th November a group of us attended the Worcestershire Archaeology Day at Worcester University. An annual event, this was a series of fascinating lectures given by various professionals, some of whom have recently worked on different sites within the county. In addition local organisations, associated mainly with archaeology and history, put on a table display to demonstrate what they too have been involved. (ours is seen above) The common factor between everyone is, of course, the recording and preservation of our county's history.
Another photo of our Winnall Mill BBQ to end the 2018 excavation season.
One of the mill stones removed from Winnall Mill sees the light of day again.
Another day was spent at Winnall Mill, in that lovely autumn setting where hundreds of fallen yellow leaves floated on the nearby pond like a carpet. There was a group of eight members present, three focusing on the rear corner of the Machine Room floor where lots more finds were discovered among the fallen rubble. Also the eagerly sought sandstone bedrock was finally revealed.
Still beavering away in the Winnall Mill Machine Room.
Checking the spoil heap for finds.
New member Ian tried his hand at sieving the spoil heap for overlooked small finds and later had a go at trowelling in the Machine Room.
What a lovely find! An old clay pipe bowl.
Terry was investigating the strange feature on the west wall which looks as if, for some reason as yet unknown, stone blocks have been used to fill a space between the back wall and the niche. Later he teamed up with Gareth to take some more levels across the site.
Find of the Month, a tin gunpowder pouch 19th century. Briliant find Ian.
With the weather again being inclement, the group stayed in the dry and continued with processing finds discovered from various sites they have worked on during the past season. When the finds have been cleaned so that more detail shows it's a good opportunity to research some of them further, especially if it might help to either establish a date for the site or for certain parts of it . On occasions experts from WAAS with their greater knowledge will also help us out.
Today the ladies had fun trying to piece together some of the numerous pieces of broken crockery that was found in a concentrated area at Winnall Mill recently. There was a quantity of everyday blue and white (not Willow Pattern though) and fine white china with a gold band. Since not all of the samples were available only a few bits actually matched, so the group will probably have another session some other time.
Below are some photos taken at the same mill during the early days.
Winnall Mill Living room floor and Bread Oven when first cleaned out.
Winnall Mill stones when first uncovered.