Winter is a good time to catch up with things that we don't always find time to do during the digging season. As mentioned in the past, Finds Processing is one of those necessary activities. Besides, staying in the warm and dry when its raining stair-rods outside or a thick hoar frost covers the landscape well into the afternoon, it's often preferable!
The last two weeks in January were also spent doing some training, especially helpful to any of our new and/or inexperienced members. The first week we looked at what paperwork needs to be done before a spade or trowel can even touch the site. This involves lots of things going on in the background, such as contacting the landowner and gaining their written permission to even survey the site, a WSM (Worcester Sites and Monuments) number needing to be obtained from WAAS and lots of desk based research and non-invasive investigations to establish if an actual excavation would achieve the best results. Only then can a project design be written, explaining the group's intentions and methods, and presented to the landowner for their approval.
During the second week of training we looked at the necessity of keeping good records, useful for both those in charge and for the diggers. The object of this exercise was for each member to understand what documentation was required of them week by week to avoid muddles with things like trenches & contexts. Poor paper records can have a knock-on affect both during the dig and after, when all the information is gathered together for analysis and the final report can be written. Then there are the preparations for archiving.....
This week, the weather being fine, we donned our wellies and went to view an interesting site near Feckenham that recently caught the attention of one of our members. This activities involved walking around the site ( a field) to assess its potential using the information we already had to hand and including more kindly provided by the helpful landowner, as well as looking at the surrounding locality. Even if nothing more came of this, with different people spotting different features, it was an interesting exercise on how to view the landscape.
This Wednesday at Hillgrove was too cold and damp outside to excavate so the group used one of the workshop rooms to sit and do some recording of the year’s dig here. This information will be added the existing spreadsheet of finds from the site and eventually be used to analyse the results and establish its past history more accurately. There was a good turnout of members so it was also a chance to chat and do a little planning.
While there we met Gillian Knight who has a field near Ball Mill in Grimley. She invited us to go on 9th February to look at her field and see if we could possibly field-walk it or survey it for her. Over the years there has been quite a bit of archaeological interest in the Grimley area with findings cover wide periods of history, so it will be interesting to see if this area can also offer further insight into the past.
For the past 4 Wednesdays a number of folk have gathered under a large umbrella in a Wichenford garden to clean finds from the Test-pitting weekend. Now they will be weighed, counted and bagged up before being transferred to the experts at WAAS in the Hive in Worcester. The latter will then plot them on a map of Wichenford to obtain a true picture of the scatter of the finds and what it will tell us about the history and development of the area over the centuries. Everyone, especially those who participated, look forward hearing the hearing the results in the coming months.
Meanwhile NWAG will return to their work at Hillgrove next week.
Another busy day at Winnall Mill, and many thanks to those who turned up to help us get ready for our OPEN DAY Sunday 28th July.
All of the rooms/areas are now cleared of brambles and nettles with a light brushing to show features like the water heater and the two bread oven bases.
The tiled floor has been partly cleared for the invited visitor to get a closer look at some of the room's features. Only one photo taken this week showing the site as we left it last week. See below
Early wednesday morning
Last Sunday Roger Moore held a "show and tell" exhibition, of the kind of building and pieces of clay pipes that he hopes to uncover in September 2019.
Terry went along to find about the research Roger has undertaken in advance of the dig at Cripplegate and to see his display. Below are a couple of photos taken at the event held in Cripplegate Park in Worcester on Sunday 21st July 2019.
Roger Moore's table top "show and tell" display (there are NWAG flyers on the table too.)
Well done Roger! NWAG look forward to working with you in September.