Friday, November 30, 2007

More on the Square

April is still hobnobbing with her fellow wizards in Washington, DC...the annual conference of the American Anthropological Association. We expect her to return to us all the smarter for having gone. While awaiting her return, I offer this little bit more on the excavation of TP3 in front of the courthouse where, as you will recall from yesterday, we are trying to determine the age of the town square. Had it been there as long as the courthouse, or was it a later development modeled on New England town squares in the wake of the centennial (1876) celebration?

The photograph above shows the mortared brick foundation along the east edge of the unit. The drawing illustrates the profiles of the West and North walls. The excavators were very conservative in removing the soil, resulting in eight identified strata, including the brick foundation. The Munsell soil color values (e.g., 10YR3/3 is dark brown) and soil textures suggest that A & B and F & G could be combined into two layers. The dates included with the soil descriptions are based on my review of the artifact catalogue.

Strata F and G contain prehistoric and Colonial materials. The layers above formed during the 19th and 20th centuries. The little bit of masonry rubble (common red soft mud brick and lime mortar) in those lower layers suggest that the brick foundation may date to the Colonial period, while the large quantity of masonry rubble in Strata B and C suggests that the structure was demolished late in the historic period.

Based on this small unit, we cannot stay definitively whether this is an 18th-century building or a 20th-century building constructed of cannibalized brick; but the artifacts strongly suggest that this part of the site was occupied in the 18th century.


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