Friday, August 20, 2010


What have we here? This copper alloy object was found at Burch House recently. It is decorative, possible a clasp or brooch with a flower applique. It first appeared to be in one piece when it came out of the ground, but the flower center quickly separated from the base. The back of the piece (below) shows a band for something (leather strap? ribbon?) to slide under. So, does anyone know whaazit?


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Greetings from Williamsburg!


I know I've hardly been gone, but I thought that I would send a little Williamsburg update to the PTAP team (whether you all want to hear from me or not)! I settled myself into a lovely apartment an easy 10 minute bicycle ride from campus, and have spent the past few days soaking up all Colonial Williamsburg has to offer before I am buried in books and assignments. As a William and Mary student I have access to all of the exhibits, and boy it is easy to fill up a day!

In order to make this blog a little bit more relevant I thought I would highlight my trip to the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum. This place has enough intact ceramic pieces to make any archaeologist's mouth water! Here are a couple of choice pieces that I thought you folks may be interested in. Please click on the picture for a close-up.

This fine brown stoneware mug with silver-gilt lid belonged to John Winthrop, one of the first governors of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The mug was made sometime between 1550 and 1557 in Germany, and it traveled with Winthrop to America in 1630 after he inherited it from his father.

Winthrop's mug is actually part of a larger exhibit on stoneware at the museum right now. Displays were filled with Rhenish Brown jugs with molded faces, Nottingham teapots, elaborately designed Westerwald vessels, and more! The guy on the left was certainly one of my favorites, as was the vessel to the right that portrays a scene from a peasant wedding. Neat!

Of course, earthenware and porcelain lovers would find plenty in the other exhibits. Some of these pieces should look familiar...remember that blog on the Melon teapot? The style really was that popular! This tureen was one of the museum's favorite pieces. It is creamware of the Whieldon-type and was made in Staffordshire in 1760.

This melon was not alone, as the design was part of the larger movement of decorating in the rococo style. I found this corn-cob teapot, a little melon teapot with raised political scenes, and more!

I have clearly gone on long enough, but I hope you all found some of these pieces interesting-I know I did. I assure you that I have not only been hanging out in museums, but have been enjoying the musical demonstrations, folk art, building tours, lectures, and even a speech by Thomas Jefferson. Oh yes, and I have dedicated time to learning the campus, investigating classes, and preparing for school (don't worry Jim, I'm not just site-seeing). So that's all for now, but if any of you think you'll be in the Williamsburg area in the near future be in touch!


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Search for GRB

Jim was recently contacted by Sue Hodes, a descendant of Dr. Gustavus Richard Brown II, of Port Tobacco. She was interested in finding a portrait of Dr. Brown and acquired a copy of an unsigned painting from the Mount Vernon Ladies Association with the inscription "G. Washington in his last Illness attended by Docrs. Craik and Brown". The style of the painting dates to the period of Washington's death in 1799, but it is likely the tableau is fanciful, rather than factual (Note Washington lacks a lower body, though he died of complications from an acute respiratory ailment).

During the 2009 field session, we recovered a wine bottle seal with the letters "GRB." We think it likely that the seal belonged to Dr. Brown, since he had the means to personalized wine shipments. Click here to read a previous blog entry about Dr. B.


Monday, August 16, 2010

New Finds

Just a brief note today. I was at Burch House today with Pete, Anne, and Carol. We are getting down to small details around the house and trying to figure out the stratigraphic sequence and the extent of the prehistoric component that underlies the historic deposits.

Pete excavated two small posthole and mold complexes that look like the scaffolding postholes that I documented at the 17th-century Patuxent Point sites. These are small (< 1 ft long) rectangular or square holes with circular mold. They would have been used to secure scaffolding in the ground while raising, siding, and roofing a structure.

Because of weather and other commitments, we do not expect to be out the remainder of this week.


Sunday, August 15, 2010

PTAP Family Grows

Like any family, the PTAP team perpetually changes as we adopt new members and those close to our hearts go off in search of their futures.

In the past month, Scott Lawrence (pictured center) married Laurie Ward. Laurie (now calling herself Laurie Lawrence) has been volunteering with the team for about a year and a half by my reckoning. Congratulations to both.

Kelley Walter (pictured right), who joined the GAC staff after volunteering with PTAP in May of last year, is off to graduate school at the College of William & Mary. She remains, and always will be, part of the team and the PTAP family. Marking her departure is the acceptance for publication in Maryland Archeology by Dennis Curry, editor, of a paper on Middle Archaic sites prepared by Kelley, Peter, and Anne. Congratulations to all three on what I expect will be a steady production of published scholarly papers.

Peter (pictured right) is off to the University of Denver in two weeks. Pete has been with me for three years, the longest of my three 'kids.' I'll miss him, but expect him to remain a part of the PTAP family.

Anne (pictured left in first photograph) will remain onboard helping me to rebuild the team. We have one new person whom one of us will introduce in a posting next month.

Change is difficult, but good. I look forward to continued good times and rewarding research with the entire PTAP family, wherever their futures take them.