Thursday, March 08, 2007

Timber-framed wheelpit and tailrace

The final push of excavations at Wednesbury has revealed a timber-framed tailrace. This is similar in construction to excavated examples from medieval and later sites, with a timber base, into which are slotted timber uprights ('studs'). Planking is secured to the outer and inner faces of the studs to ensure a smooth flow of water within the wheelpit and tailrace.

View of the wheel pit before excavation. The clay packing around the outside has been removed; pressure on the pit had caused it to collapse.

The wheelpit and tailrace probably date to the sixteenth century, although they may be earlier. Finds excavated so far suggest that it went out of use in the seventeenth century.

These brick structures overlie another series of substantial timbers which form part of the sixteenth century forge.

Work will continue on the site until Easter.


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