Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Finishing Up Field Work for the Summer

 The Wingos feature found on the "last day" had us back at the site the following Monday and Tuesday to expose, map, photograph and excavate it. It turned out to be filled with burned tree roots and charcoal, with no artifacts and nothing to tell us when it was formed. That's archaeology!

The last week at Indian Camp was much more interesting. We finished digging shovel test pits in the open land surrounding the house, and continued to find bricks, wrought and cut nails, bottle glass, and a variety of ceramics. One test unit in the western field came down on a feature--the bottom of the hole was filled with dark brown, charcoal- and ash-rich soil, and the number of artifacts was much higher than elsewhere. By the end of week 5, we had expanded our shovel test pit into larger units to expose a roughly 2 x 4 ft. shallow feature and two post holes. One appears to have been dug with a modern posthole digger, but the other was square, with a distinct mold and hole. We photographed and mapped everything, but did not dig the features out, as a piece of early to mid-19th century stoneware in the top of the feature fill suggests that it dates later than the slave quarters we are looking for. However, in the plowed soil overlying the features, we found British brown stoneware, a possible piece of German grey stoneware (Westerwald), a  wine bottle seal (unfortunately, the center of the seal that usually has the initials of the owner was missing), and some colonoware, suggesting that an earlier component of the site is somewhere close by.

Back in the woods, Brad did a metal detector sweep of the area with the light artifact scatter, and found a number of hits. He and Lauren only dug a few, and each contained a hand wrought nail. We mapped the location of all the hits and opened a few more test units at the edge of the field just south of the tree line. At 3:45 on Friday afternoon, we found the edge of a feature in one of the test pits. We'll have to wait until next summer to find out if it is a plow scar, or something more interesting. This area is promising, and we'll explore it further in 2012.

Although field work is complete for the summer, we've got lots to do in the lab and in the library. We'll continue to update our progress throughout the coming months.

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