After some recent heavy rain showers, the team of six returned to the Orchard site expecting it to be rather soggy, but as you can see in the photo below it had drained off fairly well. Whilst working their way down the layers of soil, recording their finds every 10cm in accordance with the Test-pitting scheme, those working on this testpit came across a row of old clay land drains. So they decided to investigate this further, hence the extended trench to the south.
Trench TP13 extention (TP13A)
A nice example of a clay field drain.
Quite why this drain was located here is so far unknown (the location was chosen for a testpit because an old map showed evidence of a possible building here). After digging in the lower part of the adjacent field, where several of our earlier testpits hit very wet clay, the higher ground in thisnorthern area appears to be naturally better drained, although the clay content is also quite high at around the 30cm depth in most of the pits.
The team relax in the lovely sunshine for a spot of lunch.
This was North Worcestershire Archaeology Group's Tenth AGM in October held at The Lenchford Inn in Shrawley.
There was a good turnout for this, as can be seen in the photos below during lunch afterwards. New members were welcomed, future plans were discussed and there were lots of other changes. The most significant of these was Terry stepping down as the Vice Chairman. Words are inadequate, but we would all like to sincerely thank him for taking on that role and for his dedicated commitment to the group over the years.
Chris, who can be seen left in the photo below kindly agreed to become our new Chairman and since then he has quickly assumed his new role with great enthusiasm. Equally important this year is the way in which the members have become a real team, showing great enthusiasm and being prepared to help out whereever they can, which is very much appreciated by the Committee.
After a week of on/off sunshine and showers, our team of eight were able to return to the Winnall Mill site, which still offers up tantalising new information. Below Francesca is seen working on the walkway, clearing away deposits of debris that over the years has probably fallen down from above.
In the distance Keith, Ian and Chris have been working to expose what might be a wall, as found on an old map during recent research. Below Margaret is gathering up the finds from the adjacent excavation to bag up at the end of the day. In case you are wondering, no that curving thing in the trench is not a snake, but a tree root!
Work by Terry, Sam and Ian in Trench 18, in the leat west of the overflow, revealed a strange second channel at the base. (An expert's advice might need to be sought to help understand this). Note also the tool marks on the bedrock base suggesting that this change might be a later addition.
This photograph shows two of the many fresh water mussels found in the Winnall Mill overflow. The discovery triggered a discussion as to whether the previous occupants were purposely growing them to suppliment their diet. It is well known that mussels were grown in the nearby River Severn, and the lovely clear water flowing down the leat from the springs would certainly have provided an ideal breeding ground for them.
Ian and Bill working near the start of the leat after the overflow.
After all that torrential rain and flooding this past week the team returned to the Winnall Mill site to finish off a few areas on the last day of the field-working season. The site drains wonderfully well, so the digging was not at all hampered , although it was a little slippery underfoot. There was a good turn out today, with Bill from the Canal Trust joining us too and a new member visiting. Bill joined Ian to clear more of the overflow area as above, Sam and Julie extended an existing trench in the leat, and Francesca, Karl and Noelle continued on clearing the walkway.
Margaret recording the small channel cut in T18.
Continuing work on the walkway
Tina continued with her metal detectoring, Chris our new Chairman came on a brief visit, Terry did his usual overseeing bit, and Sam lit the barbecue. Thanks to Sam for cooking all that food. Everything was scrumptious!! Below is a photograph (taken by Terry) of our hardworking, dedicated group to whom the Chairman and Committee extend their heartfelt thanks for all their hard work this year.
Barbeque to celebrate the end of 2019 excavations.