Saturday, June 27, 2009

The End of Fieldwork

Tomorrow (Sunday) is the last day of fieldwork at Port Tobacco for this field season. The Heidelberg crew leave PT on Tuesday morning. Monday will be a cleanup day with little or no fieldwork.

Once I get back to Ohio I will begin posting photos and videos from the field season.

Jim will be organizing labwork sessions during July and August. Contact him if you are interested in helping out.

The interns will blog about today's and tomorrow's discoveries tomorrow.

April M. Beisaw

Friday, June 26, 2009

Today was a day of finishing up some paperwork and units, then
starting a new unit. The unit we started today is in the Indian King
Hotel area, and should expose what we believe is a building stone
which will hopefully point us in the direction to dig next.
The building stone metioned previously may be a boundary stone . A
boundary stone can tell us were the property lines were in the past.
Finding one will allow us to put all the buildings in place.

We have several questions to answer today. The first we shall address
is the makers mark question, what kind of marks do you find from the
Civil War. There are a lot of different marks that could be found
associated with the time period. Most ceramics at this time were being
imported from England, many Americans feeling that English ceramics
were superior to American-made. The most common mark design in England
at this time is a design based on the British coat of arms. Why? It
was just a fad.
As to the second question "Is there any historic documentation that
suggests that Port Tobbacco had taverns ." The answer is yes; deed and
newspaper reseach suggest that Port Tobbacco had a number of Inns,
boarding houses, taverns and hotels at various times in the town's

Thanks to Carol for coming out today! Tomorrow we plan to get some lab
work done in addition to continuing excavations outside. We hope to
see you out here!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Tin Glaze Palooza!

Today was another day of excavation where all three interns' talents shone through. Magen was our paperwork guru, filling out paperwork and bags like nobody's business. When she wasn't filling out paperwork, Magen also ran the flotation tank. Katharine single-handedly dug all the way through plow zone (ok, single-handed may be an exaggeration. Our wonderful volunteers helped her out.) And finally, Allison was banned from ever digging a unit again after her unit refused to give up and became more and more complicated as the day progressed.
As mentioned previously, we were able to do flotation. Today we floated soil that came from Ann's trash feature. Floating separated the larger gravel from smaller particles. Floataion revealed that the trash feature contained large quantities of characoal.

Katharine worked on taking a unit down to find the rest of a brick platform that showed up a few days ago in the neighboring unit. Other than finding a thin sandbar that had to be mapped in, the stratigraphic makeup of this unit was fairly simple, just plowzone with some large brick pieces throughout. By the end of the day the rest of the platform was exposed and from what we can tell of is probably part of the support system for a building. We will try to use this to figure out the orientation of the building.

In Allison's unit, many pieces of tin-glazed ceramics were recovered in large pieces that we hope to be able to reconstruct. Other artifacts, such as bottle glass, glass stems, and burned oyster shell led Dr. Beisaw (who took over the unit due to it's complexity) to the conclusion that we have exposed a tavern.

As to the question "what are the bricks made of?", the answer is clay. It is difficult to say whether or not the bricks were made locally. This depends on the time period. If the bricks were from the colonial period they would have been made in a temporary kiln on site. After the advent of manufacturing, bricks can be traced because they were stamped with the manufacturer's mark.

Thanks to all who came out to help us today! We plan to be back out there tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Research at the MAC Lab

We spent the day at Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum to do some research on artifacts we have been finding. After a morning of touring the facilities, we worked in the research library. Katharine worked with tobacco pipe bowls and stems, and discovered that one of the pipe fragments we have is a French pipe made by the Noel brothers out of Lyon, France sometime between 1808 and 1920. Another one of the stems seemed to have an eighteenth century British design.

Allison returned to studying her beloved makers' marks. She had six marks to work with, but unfortunately none could be identified because they were too fragmentary. There was enough present of two marks that give us a rough date range of about 100 years on them.

Magen had a chance to sit down and research marbles . The collection contains two glass marbles and eight ceramic marbles. One of the glass marbles is red, white and blue with rectanglular ribbons of color and may have been manufactured by Vitro marbles in Parkersburg West Virginia. This marble started beginning manufactured in the late 1920's and stopped being manufactured in the mid-1950's. Also the collection contains a spattered crockery marble that began being manufactured in 1890 and was only manufactured for a short time. The collection also contains three marbles made from natural clay. The final two marbles are possible china marbles. China marbles were manufactured in Germany beginning in the last part of the eighteenth century (Baumann 2004).

Tomorrow excavations will continue at the Indian King area . We would like to thank Kelly Copper for taking us on a tour of Jefferson Patterson park.

Paul Baumann 2004 kp books 4th Collecting Antique Marbles Identification and Price Guide

Monday, June 22, 2009

My big fat Port Tobacco wedding

Today the excavation continued in the Indian King Hotel area. Our excavations focused on Unit 74. This day our excavation uncovered a colonial trash deposit. The deposit yield many pieces of a tin glazed vessel ,a turtle scute ,and a base of a case bottle. The feature was than water screened and will later be floated. When we say a feature is floated it means we are using water to separate particles of different weights.

Tommorrow is our day off and excavations will continue on Thursday. We will continue to focus on following the foundation.

As to the question on wether or not the foundation we found is an old time bandstand or not. The answer is that we do not have any historical records talking about bandstands. Also the area we are digging is to far from the courthouse to be a viable option.

Finally we would like to thank all our volunteers for coming out to dig with us.


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Upcoming field schedule

We will be digging in Port Tobacco on Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The following Monday will be a cleanup day and the Heidelberg crew drives back to Ohio on Tuesday the 30th. That means there are only 5 days left to join us in the field. Jim will return to Port Tobacco for more fieldwork in October.

April M. Beisaw


Excavations continued today by the Indian King Hotel. Today's excavations revealed two things. First, the foundation of the hotel does not go in the direction that we thought it did, and second, we found what appears to be the foundation of another building. This new building is located on the village green. We are continuing to find interesting artifacts. Some of today's discoveries included an 1858 flying eagle coin, printer's type, a few pieces of ceramic with partial maker's marks, and a metal piece to a door. In spite of all of these wonderful discoveries, everyone's favorite topic of conversation today was Dr. Beisaw sitting in the bottom of a two and a half foot deep unit, drawing wall profiles. There was much discussion of turning it into the PTAP pool or backfilling it with the good doctor in it. We are fairly certain, however, that we are starting to see magma in it.

Thank you to all of our wonderful volunteers for coming out to dig with us on this beautiful day, and thank you to Maxine and Sharon for bringing us a new refrigerator for the Burch House! We plan to continue excavations tomorrow, so we hope to see you out there!