During May we returned to Wingos for a few weeks of additional excavations. Last winter, when we were working on the report, we found that we had several different lines of evidence suggesting that there was an enclosure southwest of the slave cabin that we’d discovered in 2009. First, we had mapped and excavated a number of small, circular features that we think were the remains of small posts. When we plotted them on a master map, they seemed to form two perpendicular lines, and part of a third line. The posts are quite small, and we think that they may have supported a woven wattle fence. Second, we found that there were concentrations of artifacts corresponding to these lines, indicating that the lines had formed boundaries between spaces that site residents kept intentionally clean, and spaces where they dumped trash. Third, we found that concentrations of soil chemicals associated with trash disposal generally mirrored the highs and lows of artifact counts. All of these lines of evidence point to our discovery of fence lines that enclosed a yard space. We hadn’t dug enough to determine the location of all the fences, the overall size of the yard, or what, if anything, may have been adjacent to it on the eastern side, so we set out to gather more information this year.
Our group from the University of Tennessee was expanded by volunteers from the Archeological Society of Virginia, Monticello, Poplar Forest, Roanoke College, and the Virginia Department of Historic Resources who spent one or more days working with us. We found three more features that are probably associated with the enclosure, collected more soil samples from within and outside of the enclosure, and excavated additional artifacts. Once these are placed on our master map along with the new chemical and artifact data, we will have a clearer picture of the way that people living at Wingos organized and used the space around their house.