A dry day today on site, with a few intermittent showers. It was good to arrive this week and find areas of the site nicely cleared, so thanks to last week’s team, mainly pm. The work todaywas focussed mainly on the Cart Shed wall and the area leading from the Trackway to the Loading Bay (R12).
More cleaning up of the top of the Cart Shed wall (R08) was done by Margaret, Keith and Noelle. This included the removal of lumps of sandstone and bricks that were laying loose on the soil rather than being obviously mortared down to any brick or stone below. They had probably fallen down from above. So our wall looked a lot different then!
Noelle and Margaret then set about measuring and drawing an elevation of the wall (about 3.5meters long), which is a complicated mix of large cut stone and brick.
Last week, when Julie had worked on the Cart Shed floor below this wall, under some tumbled bricks she found a metre long metal strap with square holes which we hoped might be a hinge or at least something relating to the building. Interestingly, while Margaret was going through some previous Field Progress reports she found that within the Cart Shed area, Susan Fraser (a former member) during metal detecting had also found a similar flat piece of metal 1 metre long and with square holes. Terry had sensibly made a little sketch of it at the time, which we also shall with ours.
Further work was done on T21 to extend it a little further. Although a nice smooth area of sandstone bedrock had been found, so far there is not a wheel mark to be seen, which seems strange.
We apologise for the absence of photos due to internet problems. These will be added as soon as possible.
Today the weather was uncomfortably “muggy” until the afternoon when it absolutely poured with rain! There was a fair turnout of members spread out over the day, for social distancing purposes of course.
The Cartshed continued to be cleaned up by Julie and Noelle. Already the back wall elevation and plan has been drawn by Margaret and part of the floor, effectively a trench, was started by Noelle too, who has chosen to some drawing training.
Just in case any trenches ever need re-excavating or extending in the future, all the drawings need to be linked to their nearest datum (of which there are 4 dotted around the whole site area thanks to Terry and former member Gareth) so they can more easily be found. So some measuring of the distances from the trenches to the various datums were therefore done to accurately locate them. Next some levels will need to be recorded by Chris with the dumpy.
The second trench near the south wall is now completed and ready to be drawn with the context sheets also completed.
A third trench in this series, lying parallel to the second but much further away, was started in the afternoon by Keith, Ian and Sam to investigate the largenearby heap of soil (some of which may be spoil from previous digs especially the part nearest the Loading bay and the Walkway) and to see if the condition of the lower surface continues to be as smooth for the carts on this relatively hard bed-stone rock. Due to some soil sieving by Francesca and Tina some nice small items were also found including a tiny bead.
A cool overcast day made working conditions at Winnall feel very pleasant. A few light showers did not stop work either. Some members took the opportunity for a holiday break this week, so the numbers were slightly down.
Julie continued to excavate and clean up the floor area of the Cart Shed in the morning. Tina joined her later and did some sieving of the fine soil. Her metal detecting efforts found two matching metal window hinges.
Margaret completed drawing the complex wall elevation that’s a mix of sandstone blocks and bricks with a few tiles wedged between them, or as Julie said “a right hotchpotch of materials.” We are of the opinion that, if it was a cart shed, as old maps only show it as an outbuilding, then there were three walls about 1.5m high with a probable a wooden open structure set on top of the four impressively large corner stones to take the weight of the roof.
Keith began to dig another narrow north/south trench on the area lying between the Loading Bay and the Trackway. Unlike the previous trench (T21) this one (T24) had the usual humus layer and sandy soil for the first 2 contexts but then bits of CBM and black soot or charcoal in the soil beneath that. Again the surface of the stone was found to be mainly smooth.
Up till then, everyone assumed that both of the trenches had sloped stone surfaces because of the way the soil lay on top of it. But when Sam and Margaret drew trench (T21) in the afternoon they were surprised to see the spirit level demonstrate that it was astonishingly flat. This would have made a Victorian carter’s ride fairly smooth on his approach both to and from the mill.
It was a dull warm day on Wednesday at Winnall Mill, following several days of rain. Even so the ground had dried out sufficiently for the team to be able to work quite comfortably.
The morning group were kept busy with Keith continuing the new trench (T24) where plenty of CBM was to be found. Later Ian and Francesca continued with this in the afternoon also finding smaller artefacts.
Noelle turned her hand to drawing the trench floor plan for T07 in the Cart Shed, deliberately not cleared of all tumble while also revealing some of the stone bedrock floor for recording. This was later backfilled but only after Julie, who attended the afternoon session, had first explored under the western section of rubble where some smaller finds were uncovered.
Margaret cleared away the undergrowth down to the Privy to measure some bricks for Murray’s research work on the report and she also recorded the distance from there to the Cottage Datum 1. It was interesting that what was assumed to be 23 x 12cm bricks in the floor were today found to be 3cm thick tiles. The original drawing has now been altered to reflect this.
Later Noelle and Margaret recorded the distances back to Datum 1 for the now filled in T21 and for trench T24, which they later drew together.
The piles of broken roof tiles retained from the final stretch of the Walkway (near the top step) were weighed today for a little exercise to determine how many tiles here might have been on that particular section of roof. Unlike elsewhere, these particular tiles should be the original ones that slid down from it. The plan is to find a good sample of a whole tile, weigh it and divide the total weight of the broken tiles by its weight. Should be interesting!
Photos will be added later.