Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Day Two Report

After a brief hiatus, we were able to begin excavations at the Fairbanks House this Monday! To kick things off, we began by opening two test pits directly west of the driveway (see the map below).

After initially laying out 50x50cm units, it was determined that repeated episodes of landscape grading (i.e., adding or removing soil in layers to build up or lower various parts of the property, usually for drainage purposes) meant we'd have a much larger amount of soil to dig through than we originally expected. As a result, it was decided that we'd expand our test units to 1x1m to make digging at significant depths a bit easier.

In the picture to the left: volunteer archaeologists Adrien and Robert break ground on our first two units.

Additionally, upon further examination of construction plans for the proposed driveway expansion, it was determined that six 1x1m test pits spaced in a row along the western edge of the driveway would be sufficient to evaluate the area (see the map on the right identifying our current excavation plan -- green units are those that we are currently working on, red boxes are proposed units).

As we move forward this week, we will try to finish excavating our first two test pits, a task that will provide a clear picture of the area's stratigraphy. Once we know how the layers of soil were deposited, we can move a bit faster through the remaining test pits.

In the picture to the left: volunteer archaeologists Adrien and Maggie excavate our first unit.

In the picture on the right: Adrien holding up a 1905 Indian Head penny found in our first test pit.

Editor's note: Some might question the archaeological value in something so "modern." In truth, much of the interest surrounding the Fairbanks House is focused on its 17th century beginnings and this is a fact I hope to change. The aim of my research is to tell the various stories of the Fairbanks property from its creation in the mid-17th century all the way to its current use as a site of heritage and remembrance.

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