Monday, June 9, 2008

North Field Sites

For weeks we have blogged about our intensive work on the fields south of Port Tobacco. I have already summarized our findings for the middle of three fields and now offer a partial summary of our work in the north field. The artifact catalogue is not yet complete, but here is a composite map of the artifact distributions that Pete drafted and the topography based on the elevation data he finished entering last week.

The field is long and narrow because the floodplain between Chapel Point Road and the riverbank is narrow. The northern portion of the field is the most level.

The scale of the map, and even of the detail to the right, is such as to make identifying individual pieces with a key or legend impractical. The best way to show that level of information would be to post a series of maps showing the distributions of individual categories (e.g., oyster shell, Creamware). I've simplified matters by drawing ellipses around concentrations of like material.

We have an indisputable 18th-century site in the northwest corner characterized by lots of White Salt-Glazed Stoneware, Tin-Glazed Earthenware, and Creamware. It lies in the midst of a large prehistoric Indian site, the details of which we will supply once we've had a chance to catalogue and analyze the artifacts. In the extreme southeast of the field Pete and Elsie found several pieces of White Salt-Glazed Stoneware and Wine Bottle glass indicating another 18th-century site.

There is a long scatter of brick extending down the east side of the field. It is densest in an area directly east of the northern 18th-century site and may represent another, albeit less well-defined, historic site. South of that cluster and extending up a steep knoll is a scatter of largely late historic artifacts (Whiteware ceramics, bottle glass) and oyster shell, along with a few possible pieces of flaked stone. This gravelly know likely is a recent outwash deposit from the uplands across Chapel Point Road.

I suspect that this gravelly sediment is hiding one of more archaeological sites...the deposit may be so thick as to protect those deposits from plowing. The only way to test this hypothesis is to dig deep shovel tests like those with which we tested the core of the townsite last year. This locus and the northeast corner of the south field and southeast corner of the middle field might be the only portions of the fields where surface collecting may prove inadequate and deeper testing may be necessary.

One of us will provide additional details on these sites once the catalogue and artifact analysis have been completed and, of course, we will be issuing a detailed technical report on the entire field collecting project before summer's end. First we have to complete the mapping and cataloguing the south field data which probably exceed the combined data from the north and middle fields by a factor of two.

Stay tuned.


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