Saturday, October 24, 2009

It is a Building

The photograph to the right shows Elsie and Carol exposing a sandstone foundation, work that will continue tomorrow (Sunday). We've cleared off the grapevines, multiflora rose, and other understory growth and have been troweling and sweeping off the remaining organic detritus and redeposited sediment from the surrounding fields.

As of Friday we had exposed two corners, one entire wall, and significant portions of two other walls. The foundation is substantial and we should have some numbers on its width and the size of the building tomorrow or Monday. We'll be working both days and, as always, all are welcome. Artifacts from the recently redeposited sediment are few, but we have recovered Chinese porcelain, pearlware, and handwrought nails, all suggestive of an early 19th-century occupation, as well as later material.

Friday we also completed Unit 81. That's Anne in the photograph to the right documenting the soil profile. The bottom of the unit appears to be muddy, but that is only because it is muddy...looks aren't always deceiving.

The units revealed what may be several episodes of local sandy gravels that were redeposited by severe storms, the eroded materials including artifacts that were on the ground upslope. The artifacts, although mixed throughout the gravelly sediments, do not appear to be eroded, suggesting that they were not moved far from where they were originally deposited. If the hypothesis is true--redeposition of local sediments and midden--then we may be able to date some of those events with the artifacts recovered from each stratum.

I'll be at the Swann site with Scott on Sunday and on site with the rest of the crew Monday. The rest of the week's schedule remains undetermined...Tuesday's weather looks questionable at this point.


Friday, October 23, 2009

No posting today

Sorry, I am unable to provide a full posting of today's events but will return tomorrow.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Another Building?

The team, seven strong today, took on two tasks. As you can see from the photograph to the right, one of those tasks involved excavation. We completed Unit 81 and found, in the lowest deposits, more early 19th-century artifacts. I'm not sure if Anne was annoyed or surprised when she pulled a large sherd of Middle Atlantic slipware out of the wet, muddy gravel layer at the bottom of the unit. But it is consistent with what we have been finding. Exactly why this material is mixed with gravels rather then laying on top of a gravel layer, which is what I expected, remains to be determined.
On a second front, we cleaned up the last bits of vegetation off of the pile of brick and stone rubble exposed Tuesday. As you can see in the photograph, some of the artifacts aren't quite as old as we might have hoped. Calvin identified a tail light assembly on one bumper as early 1950s. We have the remains of at least two automobiles, a bicycle, and other fascinating junk on top of the rubble pile that we think is part of an 18th-century building that survived into the 20th century. We'll have to remove this stuff before we can begin excavating. Perhaps we can call one of those companies that buys derelict cars for $100 bucks.

In the afternoon, the crew cleared additional brush to expose what might be a second building, also consisting of sandstone and brick rubble, but without the auto parts. It may be a kitchen outbuilding, but it is too soon in the process to make any judgments. We will explore it further tomorrow (Friday) and, weather permitting, on Sunday.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Mid Week Update

Wednesdays are office days for us here at GAC/PTAP. While the fun happens in the field, the magic happens in the office!

Jim is off teaching all day so I am updating the maps and catalogs from the past weeks work and working on the plan and profile drawings from the second half of the summer that April did with her interns.

Kelley and Anne are off consulting with folks at the Maryland Historical Trust about our Aboriginal pottery and projectile points. They will share their results later this week.

No pictures today but definitely check back tomorrow when you will see what an amazing job everyone did in clearing out the Swann site for excavation. Tomorrow will be a day of mapping and photo documenting in Port Tobacco. Photo documenting is not something we have done much of on this job but is absolutely necessary for us to move onto further excavation on the Swann site!

Upcoming Schedule:
Thursday/Friday - fieldwork in PT
Saturday - looks like rain so no fieldwork
Sunday - fieldwork in PT

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Site Clearing pictures today, but Pete should have some tomorrow and later in the week. Our hardy crew of seven continued excavating one unit at the Swann house site, recovering a fair amount of early 19th-century material. Deposits above that material were excavated last week and produced the mid-19th-century material we were looking for.

The crew also finished shovel testing in the Jamieson Field-West, a job we left off of in October 2007. The new results should give us a better idea of where the prehistoric component is and the degree of overlap between Swann House and the mid-18th-century site we found in the field to the south.

We also cleared mo9st of the dense vegetation from the top of the stone foundation in the hedgerow that we think is the Swann House.

We'll be back in the field Thursday and Friday, and--weather permitting--Saturday or Sunday.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Steve Lohr

Who is that bearded fellow with the cast on his arm working alongside Heidelberg University students Katharine and Magen? Steve Lohr, of course. I meant to highlight Steve a couple of weeks ago, but the fates kept interrupting.

Steve has been working with the PTAP team almost since the beginning. He is a building contractor who, along with his architect wife Tina, restored the Burch House at Port Tobacco that we use as our field headquarters.

Steve has collected artifacts in the area for years and has helped the team identify and investigate sites in and around Port Tobacco, including the Union encampment that we looked at last spring. He has been one of the crew stalwarts, wielding pick and shovel and digging bar, and pounding through some of the densest gravelly sediments in town. Steve has also alerted the team to various published resources and helped a great deal in identifying some of the military paraphernalia recovered in town and at the encampment. And, as you can see, not even a cast on his right arm has kept Steve out of the fray.


WORK ALERT: We will be working on the Swann site in Port Tobacco this Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. Weather permitting and if folks are interested, we will also work in the field this weekend.