Today the team met up to sort the finds from one of our sites so that an expert could go through them and assess them properly. Since some of them will be included in the final archiving, he will need to examine each piece to ascertain exactly what it is, how old it is, whether it's truly representative of the site it came from or, more importantly perhaps, if it has any unique qualities or features.
Our task was take the already bagged upfinds, labelled according to which dig site they came from the exact location on it (often a trench), and to sort into them into material types. So by the end of the session each of the numerous trays no longer contained a mix of items from a particular area on the site but instead they contained bags of either glass, ceramic, metal, bone, CBM, etc. (still in a bag showing their origin, of course!)
This activity can onlyreally be done after the finds have been processed (our customary winter activity) by washing. weighing and then recording onto a finds table that will in due course appear in the relevant Report. So, although not all the hundreds of finds will be archived, there will continue to exist on that list a good record of everything that was found which will help to form a picture of the history and function of the site.
Today it was a warm and sticky day on the Orchard site with seven of us present. The Testpit 13 seen below was freshly opened today, close to pit 11(now closed) and pit 12, where an old map indicated a building of some sort stood. Given that the original building may have been of a timber-framed construction, there was little anticipation by the team of finding much material evidence remaining. Even so, the previous nearby pits have provided quite a bit of CBM. Indeed, Testpit 13, where the soil was fairly dark and loose and easy to excavate, soon yielded stones and CBM.
Test Pit 13, down to context 02
By contrast Test Pit12, seen below and positioned on a slope, has been very hard to excavate so far with its compacted soil and clay, which meant that context 02 (20cms down) was not reached until week 3! (We have been admiring the way that a rabbit managed to dig a hole into this soil!) The dousing of water did help on this hot, dry day and at last the pit produced some finds, mostly CMB. Even so, in one corner a bent metal with "claws" item appeared which Terry and Tina soon identified as part of a mole-trap.
This is what the mole trap should look like, but ours was bent up.
Test Pit 12- work in progress.
Meanwhile Francesca and Terry did a stock-take and during lunch we discussed our involvement in the forthcoming excavations of the Cripplegate Pipe Factory in Worcester, which will be led by Roger Moore in September.
Today was also another opportunity to look at some other finds, like those from a previous fieldwalk that Liz and Jenny are seen sorting and rebagging below. It is hoped that some of our new members, of whom there are two currently studying theoretical archaeology, find that handling these artefacts and learning about the context in which they were originally found will help to give them a better understanding of what to look out for during excavation when they eventually do it later in the year, when the digging season starts up again.
The team (well five of us) returned to Winnall Mill armed with strimmers and secateurs to prepared the site for our annual CBA open day (see the events page). The photos below shows what it looked like when we first arrived and then how it looked by the time we left. Quite a difference. Well done team! It was a hot and humid day so the insects were nibbling, despite us having sprayed every exposed part of our flesh with instect repellant. We will be back again next week to finish off and put up signposting, etc.
Terry putting up an advertisment for our open day
We hope to see as many of our readers at the Open Day tours, which is free. There will be a tent displaying our work on this site since 2010 as well as work on other recent sites, plus, of course, the all important refreshment tent. For those of you who have not yet been, you will find it a very interesting day out in a lovely rural setting.