Thursday, July 23, 2009

Mid-Week (sort of...) Update

After losing a day due to rain (Tuesday), this week has felt a bit disjointed. Fortunately, we're very excited about what we've found at the bottom of the first test pit. It's too early to say exactly what we have, but this unit shows signs of a subterranean feature that was filled in during the 19th century.

In this picture, I'm working on an extension of our first unit. We decided
to expand the area of excavation to reveal a larger portion of the potential
feature (see the updated dig map below). The ladder and hardhat are
necessary to comply with OSHA regulations. And to look totally cool.

The "fill" constitutes a series of layers indicative of furnace cleaning. During the historical period, furnaces needed to be cleaned out regularly and these episodes leave relatively thin layers of ashy gray soil, often full of charcoal and/or broken artifacts. We've uncovered three separate episodes of furnace cleaning so far, the third and deepest of which has revealed a number of large fragments of 19th century ceramics (hence our ability to date the filling of the subterranean feature -- if the lowest level of fill dates to 19th century, then the layers above it almost certainly date to a similar or later time period). Unfortunately, these artifacts have already been taken to the lab and have not yet been photographed (sorry!).

Updated dig map showing extension of our first unit in an
attempt to reveal a larger amount of the potential
feature (red units are planned, green units are in progress,
blue units are finished)

Assuming the weather holds off tomorrow (and that's a big assumption these days), we hope to get to the lowest layers of the "feature" area. At that point, we hope to be able to then determine the nature of the feature. Keep an eye on the blog as there will be an update over the weekend (weather permitting!) including artifact photos and more news from the site...

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