Wednesday 10th July 2013

Today we welcomed Sale High School to the site, exploring the archival documents and photographs together before an extended site tour. They saw the final objects lifted from our muddy lake silts, and some of them got the chance to wash a few finds whilst being filmed for a short University feature on archaeology, sustainability and citizenship. Next week, as part of a creative arts workshop called ‘Dig!’ (organised by Dr Karina Croucher – see earlier blog posting), these students will be responding to the visit by creating their own ‘postcard’ from the site. We hope to feature some of these on this blog as well as in an exhibition later this year, and we will be inviting them to join us on site next year!

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               Ruth Colton gives a site tour for Sale High School

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The film crew, hard at work

We were delighted when Alan Somers (Security Supervisor: University of Manchester) paid us a visit today: he has helped with on-site security during the dig but also brought along his own postcard collection to share with us. He generously shared with us two new postcards of the Park we had never seen before! We also had a visit from some of the University administrators, as part of the site tour. We are pleased the dig has stimulated so much interest not only from the local residents but our own university community.

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One of Alan Somers’ postcards of Whitworth Park

Today was our last big day of digging… we’ve got down to the natural under the bandstand and the artificial mound, and are photographing and recording these trenches, ready for backfilling tomorrow. We’ve also finished emptying the lake, coming across some very fragile finds… string, worked wood and sticks (possibly dropped by children), fragments of shoes with small brass tacks, and a scrap of tightly folded paper. The conservators from Manchester Museum came to offer expert advice and take away some of the most vulnerable finds for treatment and analysis back at their laboratory.

In our newest trench 5 (over the Gentlemens’ Shelter), we’ve found a heap of rubble! However it is very interesting rubble, containing cement-like blocks and slabs of different kinds. We know from newspaper cuttings that this shelter (which had a strong association with veterans from World War I) was demolished to make way for the barrage balloon tethered here in World War II, but we still don’t know if this was exactly on the same site or close by. This trench has raised more questions than answers, and if we can, we hope to return here next year.

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