By Krista Eggleston and Kaitlin Scharra
On Saturday October 25th we hosted a public open day at the Roosevelt Park excavations. The highlight of our open day was being able to share our findings with the public. We had a number of activities for guests to enjoy while visiting our individual excavation units. Visitors viewed historic maps placing the area in context and they were shown different historic artifacts that we’ve excavated over the past few weeks. Families even got to enjoy washing finds as they were excavated to investigate the finer details. At the end of their site tours, visitors posed for group photos in front of the excavations in Area 2, and we posted an album of them on the Unearthing Detroit project’s Facebook page.
The best part of the open day was that we were able to share our excavation findings and the history of Corktown with many different people who were interested in what we are learning. In addition to neighborhood residents and local families, we were visited by many fellow scholars of archaeology from other Cultural Resource Management entities and universities in the state including Western Michigan, Central Michigan, Oakland, University of Michigan and Michigan State Universities. These interactions allowed us to discuss the difference and similarities between Roosevelt Park and other historic Michigan sites. About 100 visitors came to Roosevelt Park for the open day. We look forward to connecting with Detroit’s communities more in the future.
During the open day, in Area 1 Lot 3, several interesting artifacts were found. Near the north wall of Unit 1 there was a thin metal artifact with a paper layer attached, most likely the remnants of a tin can. Additionally a white embossed ceramic tureen lid and multiple bone fragments recovered. In this unit there was a clay ‘shelf’ along the northern wall which was also excavated. In Lot 4 Unit 1 a circular, thin iron artifact was removed, the shape of this artifact led the excavators of this unit to believe that it may have been the lid to a can. Several thin soil context layers were excavated, the last of which revealed the beginning of a new feature in the southeast corner of the unit; these thin layers appear to be similar to the layers previously excavated by the team in Unit 2. Unit 2 has dug deep enough to hit virgin soil, meaning that no more artifacts have been found.
Area 2 Lot 10 was busy digging into a very deep ash layer located along the east wall. In this ash layer bottle fragments were found, and in addition to these fragments, an intact clear rectangular bottle was discovered. The west half of the unit was also excavated and contained multiple architectural artifacts. In Lot 11 the contexts excavated here yielded numerous glass, ceramic, and bone fragments. A clay context was uncovered here and along the eastern wall the excavators have begun to dig into an oval shaped feature. Within Lot 12 a deep oval feature was also excavated and this feature included a run-off branch. The feature was along the west wall and was possibly a privy vault. In addition, a post hole was discovered on the north end of the unit. Artifacts found in this unit today were mostly of an architectural nature.