By Dovie Jenkins and Katie Orlicki
Dig Day #5, October 13th, was another rainy day but that didn’t keep us from excavating our units in Roosevelt Park. As groups continue to dig through their units more and more artifacts are being revealed, especially in Area 1. Area 1 is composed of three units in two different lots. Each unit’s excavators are continuously exposing ceramics, bricks, glass, and nails. This week’s exciting finds from Lot 4 of Area 1 included ceramic pieces from a tea cup and a small ceramic doll head that is about the size of a thumbnail. While Lot 4 is coming across a few ceramic pieces, the archaeologists in Lot 3 have come across a lot of animal bones this week. The bone fragments that have been found were identified as being from a cow and a pheasant.
As groups continue to dig and units get deeper, more interesting stratigraphy is being exposed. In Lot 3 there are a number of different context layers being uncovered at the same time. There is an ash layer from what is thought to be from two different burn pits, a layer of mottled soil around the burn pits, and there is also a reddish/orange clay layer. Units 1 and 2 in Lot 4 have also been coming across different clay stratigraphy as their units continue to increase in depth.
Context layers from Lot 3, Unit 1. A. Burn pit 1 consisting of ash, coal, and slag. B. Burn pit 2 made up mostly of ash and coal. C. Mottled soil surrounding both burn pits. D. Layer made up of reddish/orange clay.
Area 2 made a lot of progress, despite the bad weather. Architectural elements like brick, mortar, nails, and plaster were common materials recovered in all three units, but the distribution of these materials is quite different for each lot. Lot 10 is located in the general area of a previous structure, and they’ve recovered many whole bricks. However, they have also unearthed evidence of burning associated with these bricks. One possible interpretation of this evidence offered by the group suggests that the previous structure may have been set on fire before being demolished. In addition to bricks and other construction materials, lot 10 also discovered lovely fragments of pottery decorated with a faint “crackle” design.
Lot 11 once again had an enthusiastic guest excavator. They recovered many animal bones, which are likely food remains. Lot 11 also uncovered building materials, brick fragments, mortar, hinges, and nails. Yet, unlike the other excavation unit in area 2, most of these materials are fragmented. In addition to food remains and building materials, the lot 11 group also found broken bits of pottery and many types of glass.
Lot 12 made considerable progress excavating their main excavation unit and their shovel test pits. They have found all kinds of materials, including brick and other building materials leftover from road construction, but they have also recovered several whole artifacts.