Sunday, January 6, 2008

Burch House Lives!

Restoration work on the Burch House is nearly complete and it looks marvelous. This is one of three surviving 18th-century buildings in Port Tobacco. I toured it several weeks ago and found it remarkably spacious and solid. It occurred to me, however, that we conducted archaeological investigations around the building but never really talked about what we found, apart from discussions of sedimentation in town. (There is a technical report on the work, but who reads technical reports?)

Burch House prior to restoration in 2006.

In November 2006, Scott and I dug 20 shovel tests around the Burch House, principally in the rear yard, and that is where we found the surprisingly deep archaeological deposits that we have since encountered throughout the southern part of town.

We also uncovered a brick pavement, at least three courses deep, and a brick foundation on the downstream side of the house.

Burch House and remains of addition.

We might have expected it because the 1960 redrawing of the 1942 Barbour map shows an addition in exactly this location. Why three courses of brick paving? Why was the addition removed? What does it date to and how was it used? All good questions. Hopefully, the team will have the opportunity to examine this structure and its associated deposits in the years ahead.

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