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!!
Due to other committments, only a small number of us met today for finds processing. So those who could make it continued washing, weighing and counting finds from past digs and fieldwalks. Ian and Margaret are seen weighing and recording onto forms the details that Francesca will later enter onto a database. Those details include site and finds location, the context, if it comes from a trench, item type and number and any other notable features. It's a good opportunity to take a closer look at these finds now they are free from dirt, mud or, in some cases, soot. Once piece of pottery that looked totally black with soot, when thoroughly cleaned turned out to be a nice piece of slipware.
Everyone was amused when, Tina using her trusty metal detector, first found the obviously homemade coat-hanger shown below on the Shelsey Furnace site. Today coathangers are almost two-a-penny, but not so back in the early 1900s when times were hard. When this artisanneeded something for his wife to hang her Sunday best frock on, he produced this item made of twisted double wire! It was actually quite heavy, but it probably did the trick.
One of our members who gives regular talks also kindly distributes our leaflets, so once Terry has printed off a number, Tina helps to fold them, as seen below.
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.
Finds from Astely Forge Mill Cottage. A potter lived there for a while in the 20th century, so the above fairly modern-looking pot might have been one of his.