Thursday, November 29, 2007

Wonderful Wednesbury

Since uncovering the first timber wheel race (Wheel Race 1) way back in March, and despite the very wet summer, we have found three more! Further excavation of Wheel Race 1 revealed the curved base of the wheel pit and friction marks on the side planks suggests the water wheel would have been around 4m in diameter. Fragments of the water wheel buckets were also discovered in the fill of the wheel pit.

Three additional wheel races were found to the south of Wheel Race 1, two of which sat directly beneath the later brick culverts. Wheel Race 2 was the longest surviving example consisting of two channels side by side. Like Wheel Race 1, this was constructed from oak, with a base frame, uprights and clay lined side boards. Mortice and tenon joints had been used to hold the structure together and some of the timbers bore the original carpenters marks in roman numerals.

We have since removed the timbers and they have been dated to the late 16th - 17th centuries and represent the earliest phase of the sites development. There have also been numerous small finds, including pottery, leather shoes, iron nails, a pewter spoon, gun barrels, many more gun flints, several coins, including a George II halfpenny, dated 1752 and a token dated 1788 – issued by John Wilkinson the Ironmaster.


Anonymous Sylvia Ashton said...


I'm really fascinated by your finds. My gr grandfather almost certainly worked at the forge. He was an edge tool grinder and he and his family lived opposite the forge at The Forge Arms.

Gr grandmother ran the pub and brought up 13 children while also finding time to grow vegetables and keep goats and pigs at the back! What busy lives they led then.

30/8/10 12:52  

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