Saturday, August 8, 2009

End of Week 4: Of Newspapers and Outbuildings

The good news from the middle of this week: a reporter from the Daily News Transcript came out to the site on Wednesday to check out our progress and write up a piece for the paper (you can see the article here). The bad news from the middle of this week: the reporter came one day too late.

Thursday signaled a move away from the western yard of the property towards the area just north of the Fairbanks House. After carefully observing the current conditions in this location, we began by opening two units (we later added a third). There are a number of stones of various sizes poking up out of the ground and by drawing lines between them, we come up with the outline of a potential feature (see below).

Above: This photo shows the stones on the surface (outlined in red) and the potential lines drawn between them (dotted yellow lines). It also shows the units put in straddling these lines.

In an effort to test our feature hypothesis, we put in two units over these theorized lines. It wasn't long before we came down on two scatters of stones that support our hypothesis (see below). In the layers above these stones, we found hundreds of artifacts, most of which date from the late 18th to the late 19th centuries.

Above: Two overhead shots of the outbuilding feature.

One of the units turned up one very large rock and several other small ones in a line which we believe represents a building foundation. The other unit revealed a scatter of smaller stones which may illustrate a collapsed wall. These two test pits show that we clearly have evidence of some sort of outbuilding located to the north of the original house.

Above: LEFT - six buttons (five brass, one porcelain) from the two outbuilding test units. The top row of buttons has been cleaned using a water/lemon juice mixture while the bottom two brass buttons have not been cleaned. The larger brass buttons bear the backmark "BENEDICT/TREBLE GILT," a signature of the Benedict and Burnham Manufacturing Company. The smaller button's backmark reads "B.B. Extra Rich" and was probably made by the same company. RIGHT - two pipes from the outbuilding test units. The bottom pipe bears a decorative box with the name "McDougall's" stamped in it. The McDougall Company operated out of Glasgow, Scotland and began producing pipes in 1846.

As exciting as these finds are, due to a lack of time (only two weeks left!), we've decided to close these units and move back to the subterranean feature near the driveway. This outbuilding will be the central part of next summer's work at the site.

Stay tuned as we try to get everything wrapped up over the next two weeks!

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