Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Finding the Blacksmith Shop
Several circa 1890 maps of Port Tobacco exist, most of which are based on the recollections of one resident, R.G. Barbour. The Barbour map is noticeably different from an 1892 survey of the town by H.C. Page. One of the goals of our initial archaeological survey of Port Tobacco is to ground truth these maps by locating the remains of landmarks such as roads and buildings.
One of the buildings that we had hoped to locate is the Coombs blacksmith shop which is depicted on the Barbour map as a small rectangular structure across from the Burch House. However, the Page map depicts what may be the blacksmith shop as a larger rectangular building and places it much closer to the old High Street road. This road has been widened to form Chapel Point Road; construction of which may have destroyed what remained of the blacksmith shop.
During our shovel test pit survey we paid particular attention to the density of slag and metal that was being recovered. The density of both seemed to increase north of the Burch House but it was not until we excavated test pit number 53 that we were sure we had located the blacksmith shop. Here the fragments of slag and metal were very large and numerous. We even recovered a partial horse shoe!
The blacksmith shop does sit relative directly across from the Burch House, just as Barbour remembered it.