Monday, July 18, 2011

36 Wingos shovel tests done!

Esther digging test pit
As of Tuesday morning, we completed thirty-six 2x2 foot shovel tests at Wingo's Quarter to check for any signs of activity north of the house site. We have already begun opening up 5x5 foot units near units opened during previous field seasons. Several of the shovel tests were done where a 2007 gradiometer survey showed magnetic anomalies, and several 5x5 units have been planned to check out other areas with magnetic anomalies.

Artifact wise, our thirty-six shovel tests did not net us much more than a few quartz lithic flakes , a wrought nail, and a piece of barbed wire (which is definitely of later vintage than the slave quarters). We found no features associated with the quarter, but plenty of plow scars and greenstone, an odd, soft, yellow rock. The tests over the magnetic anomalies did not show anything unusual. It seems residential activities at Wingos may indeed have been concentrated on the southern side of the hill. But, we will await the analysis of 72 bags of soil samples (one for the plow zone, one for the subsoil from each shovel test) back at UTK for certain chemical concentrations. We will look at the chemical data to determine whether there were any specific activities going on in the vicinity of the quarters. Despite the disturbances wrought on stratigraphic evidence (soil layers and artifact locations) by plows, we may be able to glean some information from the soil chemistry, such as potential locations of livestock pens and agricultural activity.

We currently have four 5x5 units open, and one underway just north and west of where two subfloor pits related to a dwelling were found in 2009. After thirty-six mostly empty shovel tests, we were all thrilled to see multiple wrought nails start showing up, along with the first few pieces of creamware! Due to the disturbances of plows, we are also unearthing prehistoric lithics including a quartzite point, quartz preforms, and flakes. Next week we will take a closer look at a feature of softer, darker soil we discovered on Friday within the subsoil of one 5x5 unit.

Esther Rimer
Esther is a graduate student at UTK

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