There was a good turnout today for what Terry calls "Putting the site to bed for winter". We actually did more than that. But with the temperature plummetting, it was pretty chilly and damp at the mill to stand still for too long . In the case of trying to draw the newly exposed areas of the Mill house wall (as seen below) Margaret found it difficult not to get stuck in the mud too! Gareth, with the help of new member and archaeology student Liz (both seen above) took some levels while other members did some very physical tidying up.
We also rounded off the day by grabbing the opportunity to do a bit of field-walking in a recently ploughed field nearby which yielded some nice potsherds.
Despite saying farewell to Winnall for the time being, there will still be plenty to do over the next few months. We need to move our storage and relocateto another space generously offered by an NWAG member (as was the previous shed by another kind member). This will involve clearing the area of brambles and the old crumbling sheds to make way for a larger, new one that was donated.
Terry and Gareth are also working on an new, varied programme for the coming year which will keep us busy! We hope to be combining forces with at least two other groups on dig sites that have no link at all with mills! So keep reading our posts!
Our Christmas Meal at the Lenchford
Yesterday eleven of us gathered at the Lenchford for pre-dinner drinks and a meal (some even indulged in puddings!)
It was a good opportunity to mix and catch up on news with those we hadn't seen for a while. There were a few guests missing so we hope this was not due to illness. We know for sure that Valerie had a fall before Christmas and was hospitalised as a result, so we send her our best wishes for a speedy recovery.
After dinner we retired to the upper room for some festive fun arranged by Margaret, which included a special archaeological version of the 12 days of Christmas which we sang complete with suitable props (Terry suggested we repeated it again next year!) There was also an "obscure photo challenge" in which we tried to recognise the members working on site.
For the first time in the group's history, there was an award given for the "Digger of the Year". This was arranged by Gareth, who since the tightening up of our safety on site measures, meant he had kept a good record of attendances for all sessions, both on site and elsewhere. He named runners up, but the winner or rather joint winners were Terry and Margaret. He named everyone in the runners-up groups, so please ask him what position you came in at when you see him next.
We finished by discussing the forthcoming projects for the year, which were briefly mentioned before at the AGM and at other meetings. Gareth is preparing a list of them all which will enable us to plan what we can do and when (often dictated by our valuable workforce!) Also, given the duration of some projects, members previously unable to attend Wed digs might have a chance to attend on another day of the week.
We also tried to find a possible name for the Sheds on our new site. Mike suggested the Tardis, but if any of you have other suggestions please let us know.
Finally, the group's Committee would like to thank everyone for their sterling effort this year, and to wish you all a very HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
This week, our last gathering before Xmas, was spent split between Finds Processing and preparing the new location for our storage shed, kindly donated by members of the group. Probably the last of the current Winnall Mill finds were counted and weighed and then entered onto the database by Francesca. Also Tina washed some trays of finds, including those collected last week's during field-walking.
After lunch, Ian and Sam, resting from their outdoor stint with Terry and Gareth, took over the counting and weighing from Keith and Margaret. This enabled the latter to cross-check some trench information with Terry (below), who was attempting to weigh the pieces of used French Burr millstones foundincorporated into the floors of various areas of Winnall Mill during past seasons excavation.
Finally, we would like to wish all our readers and group members, young and old
a very Happy Christmas and New Year!
Lots of discussion about last year's finds, both from field-walking and excavation.
Another indoor finds processing session, again staying indoors out of the cold! But March is just around the corner and soon we will be out and about, once Gareth and Terry have compiled a plan for the year. There's the possibility of lots going on then, so members need to look out for the notifications from Terry.
As the finds from Winnall Mill, our long term dig site, are now all processed and recorded, the above team turned their attention instead to recording finds from elsewhere, getting excited about a small collection of Roman artefacts found during field-walking. (No Samian pottery yet, though!) Then there is always the game of "guess what the object is", especially if it's a piece of corroded metal or some abraded pottery. If in doubt the team has in the past been known to seek the advice of the wonderful expert archaeologists at the Hive.
Before lunch Liz, Jennie and Margaret went through the "best finds" for all the seasons of Winnall to determine which items best represented the mill and its history when they are eventually archived. Due to storage space this is always limited, so the smaller finds are often the best choice.