Saturday, October 27, 2007
Two of the three remaining 18th century houses at Port Tobacco (Chimney House on the left and Stagg Hall on the right) are the subject of today's before and after photographs. It is difficult to take photos of these two houses now because of the dense vegetation in the front yards.
There are a few differences in the architecture of both houses. At the time of the black and white photo, Chimney House had two front doors and was presumably a duplex, and Stagg Hall has a front porch. The older photo also shows that the well (the caged area in front of Chimney House) was in a slightly different location than it is now. Although barely visible in the color photo above, the outbuilding adjacent to Stagg Hall is also still standing, as are several others.
Friday, October 26, 2007
Thursday, October 25, 2007
I knew we accomplished a lot of fieldwork this past weekend. I saw the "bushels" of artifacts and counted the number of shovel test pits. It seemed impressive but the shear volume of work done did not hit me until I saw Peter's updated site map (above). Compare this new site map with the map from just over a month ago.
About one third of downtown Port Tobacco has now been sampled at a 25-ft interval. We have gathered a wealth of data and the work to compile it all has just begun. Fieldwork is on hold while we focus on cleaning and cataloging the artifacts, processing the soil data, and gathering additional archival material. We will soon announce the details of how volunteers can help with these efforts.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
I was excited to find out that a gunflint was found during this past weekend's excavations. Since I do not know much about them, I will be doing my own research tonight so stay tuned for an update on gunflints later this week!
April and Jim are working hard on getting grant applications ready to be sent out so we can get back into the field soon. Not only do they work hard in the field but they work hard during office days and well into the nights on the Port Tobacco Archaeological Project.
Tomorrow will be spent much like today as well as heading to the Maryland Historical Trust to drop off equipment and our artifacts for cleaning and identification.
Monday, October 22, 2007
This weekend's effort was a roaring success: we found several buildings, including a probable earthfast house--built on posts rather than a brick or stone foundation--dating to the 18th century and well outside of the town core. We collected about three bushels of artifacts, each and every bag of which corresponds to a specific shovel test pit that was mapped by Tom Forhan and Scott Lawrence and their CAT trainees. We hope to set up a volunteer lab at the Maryland Historical Trust (Crownsville) as early as this week.
On behalf of April, Pete, Scott, and myself, I want to extend thanks to:
Sheila Geisert for arranging overnight accommodations and the marking of underground utilities;
Sheila Smith for providing 40 people with lunch on Saturday and her many other kindnesses;
Dr. Charlie Hall of the Maryland Historical Trust for his inestimable help and good humor;
My wife, Bonnie Persinger, for shelving her own work for a day to help work with our volunteers, many of whom were first-timers;
And, of course, the great people who joined us those last three days and helped us achieve far more than we had hoped to achieve.
I hope that we will return to the field soon and that all of you will join us again. In the meantime, we have a lot of washing, cataloguing, data entry, analysis, and reporting to complete. Without completing these critical tasks, we cannot intelligently move ahead with the investigation.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
The artifact density was not as high in this field but the artifacts date to earlier time periods than elsewhere on the site.
The last day of the volunteer weekend was much like the first. A volunteer crew of 16 assisted the project staff in excavating approximately 25 shovel test pits. We also put our crack team of Peter, Carol, and Lucy on the excavation unit that we began on Saturday. The unit explored a brick and mortar foundation area in front of the courthouse, an area that is depicted as open space on all the late 1800s town maps. Unfortunately the limited artifacts from the unit make it impossible to assign a date to this building at this time.
Thank you to the 50 volunteers who donated their time this weekend. Special thanks to Shelia, who provided lunch for everyone on Saturday, and Carol, who was my right-hand assistant every day.
Check back all this week for photos and stories from the weekend.