Thursday, July 27, 2006

Archaeology in the Gorge

Over the weekend we held an archaeology day at Coalbrookdale, which was attended by a number of museum visitors. This was held as part of the Council for British Archaeology's National Archaeology Week People participated in the excavation by the Darby Furnace, and had fun piecing together artefacts.

Looking at artefacts

The open day was held in conjunction with the Madeley Living History Project, who also ran an event in Madeley town centre. We are working closely with the MLHP to bring you a very special event indeed for 2007.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The archaeology of the old van (continued)

Excavation is now well and truly underway on the Ironbridge Archaeology van project at the University of Bristol. John Schofield reports that artefacts found underneath the floor covering "...include part of a confetti box, lots of screws, some raw plugs, wire, a crushed walnut, rolled quality street wrappers, a small sherd of seventeenth century slipware, some slag, a piece of coral and a Victorian threepenny bit..."! The latest report can be read in full on our contemporary archaeology blog.

Part of the assemblage of artefacts recovered from the back of the van.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Archaeology Day in Coalbrookdale

We will be hosting our annual Archaeology Day this weekend in Coalbrookdale. Come to the Museum of Iron on Saturday 22nd July between 10.00am and 4.0pm. There we will be excavating part of the original Coalbrookdale Company Upper Works, near to the Darby Furnace. We will also be sorting through finds from recent excavations. You are very welcome to come along and help!

Finds from recent excavations in the Ironbridge Gorge.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Over 700 visitors to open day!

Our open day at Wednesbury Forge saw over 700 visitors descend on the site. On this very sunny Saturday we saw a steady stream of visitors of all ages and backgrounds, seeing for themselves the excavated remains of Wednesbury Forge. All of those who came were extremely encouraging about our work and enthusiastic about the site - thank you very much!

General view of the eastern part of the site in the morning.

Will and Anna describe some of the finds from the site.

Visitors at the 'bottom' of the site looking at the culverts.

Visitors at the 'top' of the site admiring the sluices.

Many thanks to Ron Ross for these photographs.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Open day at Wednesbury Forge

On Saturday 15th July, Ironbridge Archaeology will be opening the exciting excavations at Wednesbury Forge to the public. As well as being in continuous use for over 400 years, this site saw the first windmill ever used for metallurgical purposes and was the centre of Spear and Jackson's garden tool production for many years.

We will be open from 10.00am until 4.00pm. For more information about the site please download our leaflet. Or visit our website, or scroll down this blog for earlier pictures. The site is located on St. Paul's Road, Wednesbury. The site is in the centre of this map, 'zoom out' to locate the site within the west midlands.

We look forward to seeing you on site on Saturday!

Here are some recent photos of the excavation. Please scroll down to see some previous pictures as the project has progressed.

The second wheelpit, late 18th century in origin, with a turbine (left) installed in c.1904.

Detail of the second wheelpit, showing score-marks left by the original water wheel. The side of the wheelpit is iron-framed, quite a rare development in water power technology. The outflow goes into the main culvert.

Grinding area within the windmill - the only wind-powered grinding troughs ever to be excavated!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Jackfield Clay Arcs and Kilns

Now that the archaeological aspect of the redevelopment programme is more or less completed, the main activity on the Jackfield site is building work. Restoration of the Jackfield Clay Arcs is nearly completed. Hopefully these buildings will soon be removed from the Buildings at Risk register!

The clay arcs now nearly finished, just some painting needed.

A steel walkway has also been installed to enable visitors to see some of the original tileworks kiln bases. Our work on this part of the site was undertaken over three years ago now. This walkway also allows access to the Craven Dunnill factory where encaustic tiles are still made on site.

This is the remains of one of four kilns built in the 1870s.