Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Week 3 Midweek Update: Progress!

This week has been marked by hazy skies, scorching temperatures, and most importantly, progress! After gaining a skilled extra set of hands from Alex, another BU graduate student, we were graced with the assistance of Ellen Berkland, the City Archaeologist of Boston, and her team of four volunteers (Amee, Dave, Richard, and Damaris). With their help, we were able to knock out a number of test pits next to the driveway.

Updated dig map (red units are planned, green units are
in progress, and blue units are finished)

As you can see on the map, we now have three finished units, with two more individual 1x1m units in progress near the southern end of the driveway, and a line of 3 1x1m units on hold in the area of our subterranean feature. We'll spend the rest of the week trying to finish the final two driveway test pits before moving back to the feature area.

Above: left - Amee, Damaris, and Ellen screening excavated soil, looking for artifacts;
right - Alex and Josh work on unit 108, the southern-most driveway test pit

Most of the completed test pits have not turned up much in the way of interesting artifacts or features. This is almost certainly because the area next to the southern portion of the driveway has been built up at some point in the property's history such that instead of the natural slope of the landscape, there is a flat expanse of grassy lawn. We don't have any written records of this landscape alteration so we're left to hypothesize. It seems likely that this change was made to provide a larger space for vehicles to park. In any case, after digging through some thin levels of topsoil, we encountered over a meter of pure sand. The units soon became too deep to dig (sand walls at great depths become a stability hazard) so we were forced to cease excavation. While this is unfortunate, it gives us more time to devote to the feature area.

Stay tuned as we complete the remaining test pits and continue to explore our underground feature!

Above: left - Ellen's dog Oskar helping us dig through the back-dirt pile;
right - Dave and Amee working on a test pit

No comments:

Post a Comment