Dig Day #4

By Kat Slocum

October is upon us and so is the cold rain! During our fourth dig day on October 6th everyone worked diligently to continue excavating our units, despite the inhospitable weather.

In Lot 3 of Area 1, the field team had several interesting finds including a large quantity of architectural material, animal bones, glass, and two features. In archaeology, features are defined as structures within a context layer. They may include a post hole, fire pit, privy and many other traces of the past built environment. The team in Lot 3 has hypothesized that their two features may be a fire pit and a midden (a trash deposit). Slava (pictured below) and her team worked hard last week to collect artifacts while fighting the cold rain.)

(photo 1) Slava

Pictured above is Slava Pallas, a graduate student at WSU. She is working with her team to determine the extent of the two features found in last week’s dig.

Nearby in Lot 4 there are two excavation units underway. Unit 1 has revealed a variety of architectural material and last week they even found what appears to be a fuse cover (pictured below).

(photo 2) R & SPictured above is a unique artifact with the black lettering “R & S” with a production number beneath. Future research is needed in the lab to know more.

In the second excavation unit in Lot 4, students have found some notable artifacts, including star patterned glass (pictured below).

(photo 3) Star glass Don Adzigian, holds up the newly unearthed star-patterned glass.

Area 1 is revealing a great deal of artifacts and archaeologists are working hard to sift all cultural material/artifacts from the soil in their units. It’s a dirty job, but exciting when they find something that hasn’t been seen in decades!

(photo 4) SarahSarah Beste meticulously sifts through soil and keeps an eye out for anything to be sent back to the lab for research.

Over in Area 2, the excavation teams are benefited by having some very prominent historical features guiding their excavation. To this day there are staircases leading up to the front of the houses that stood here during and prior to the construction of Michigan Central Station. These staircases located on real estate and fire safety / insurance maps, to help pinpoint research areas.

(photo 5) stairsPictured above are two of the staircases still visible under the shadow of Michigan Central Station.

The three excavation units in Area 2 are providing buckets full of artifacts. These artifacts include mostly architectural material, glassware and concrete. In Lot 12, students are noticing that their unit seems to have been covered by some sort of fill from construction. We think it may be from construction of a nearby road or even a destroyed structure in the backyard of the house. We expanded the unit in an effort to find out what the material may be from and how far it extends.

With so many things to find and so many questions remaining, it’s worth stopping by for a visit during our Open Day on from 1-3pm on October 25th. Come out, volunteer, and discover Detroit’s history right under your toes!