Friday, July 9, 2010
Burch house has again given us a unique little artifact that is quite eye catching. It was most likely a decorative pin or similar ornament. It has four shamrocks, 3-leafed clovers, on it, which can represent the holy trinity or good luck. Good luck clovers are 4-leafed, not shamrocks, but the two are often interchanged. Considering the location and time period this pin is associated with, the clover was probably meant to reflect the Holy trinity rather than the 'luck o' the Irish.
The symbolism of the shamrock dates back to pre-Christian Ireland. The plant was sacred to the Irish Druids as symbolic of a triad. Popular tradition says that St. Patrick used clovers to explain the concept of the holy trinity when he went to Ireland in the 5th century to convert the Druids. However, the first mention of this story dates to 1726, so it is somewhat suspect. In the 19th century it became a symbol of Irish rebellion against the English and began to be strongly associated with Irish identity.
Have a great weekend.
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Today I was able to finish up cataloging, and let me tell you, we have some exciting artifacts! Some of the lower strata and post holes have produced North Devon ceramics and sherds from a Westerwald mug, suggesting quite an early component to this site.
One of the more interesting buttons we have come across is this large oyster shell button with a metal loop for a backing. Usually oyster shell buttons are small with two or four holes through them, or were actually insets in metal buttons.
As for yesterday's mystery artifact, Elsie had some interesting ideas. She suggested that it could be a part of a spinning wheel called a maiden, which helps to hold the bobbin in place. The placement of the holes and threading on our find certainly resemble those on a maiden, but upon closer examination this artifact is far too small to fit more than a tiny spinning wheel! I know children had (and still have) toys that mimicked the tools and machines used by adults, aiding in the process of learning through imitation, but I have never heard of a children's spinning wheel. That is not to say that such a thing did not exist, though Elsie is right to suggest that we would expect ot find more pieces of such a machine. She also pointed out the possibility that the artifact is some type of simple hand tool, though this still leaves us puzzling over its function.
As always thanks for the input. It always helps to have several extra brains to think up possibilities that I overlooked!
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
I hope you have all been sitting inside with a nice cold drink to pass by this scorcher of a day! For today's blog I am posting another artifact that is a mystery, even to us. So, since you all have been so helpful before, pull out some books, open up Google, and exercise your noggin to send some of your ideas this way!
We think this artifact, found in Stratum 9 of Unit 90, is some sort of bone tool that could have had something to do with sewing (keeping consistent with the numerous other artifacts related to sewing that we have found so far). Towards one end there is a hole that goes straight through the object, and the other end has carved threading, which suggests to me that it was used as some sort of holding pin (please see the image to the right for a close-up). Any ideas?
Stay cool today, and hopefully the weather will be agreeable enough for us to get back to our excavations at Burch House. We will be sure to let you know our schedule. Also, as promised, here is an image of one of the thimbles we have found this summer.
Monday, July 5, 2010
Time is flying by this summer already and with Kelley and I off to graduate school in the fall, Jim is whipping us hard to get some report writing done! Haha...just kidding. But we do have some writing to do. The Preserve America report is coming along nicely as are some papers the three of us are writing.
As a reminder, this time last year we had the interns from Ohio working down in Port Tobacco with us and the year before that we were in the midst of the annual field session!
This year we've had two interns working with us for several weeks. Amanda finished up her internship last week and Phil should be closing his out by the end of this week.
Hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July and stay cool this week!