By Cecelia Murrell-Harvey and Katie Korth
Our excavations continued on Dig Day #7, October 27th. It happened to be a wonderfully mild fall afternoon with perfect working conditions. This was our second to last day excavating, so we made the most of the surprisingly good weather and worked extra hard.
Over in Area 1, Lot 4 stayed busy with their two units that are positioned at the front and rear of an old stable. Unit 1 began their day by drawing a plan detailing each layer and its measurements, and then starting a new context layer. The new layer was darker than previous layers, seemed very nutrient rich, and did not contain a lot of artifacts. The team took a soil core sample to see if lighter soil containing more artifacts was located beneath, but this was not the case. This layer was labeled as a feature and samples were taken to the lab to be tested, because this rich soil layer just may contain manure which would provide more evidence that we are excavating a stable.
Unit 2 of Lot 4 spent Monday afternoon closing their unit after not finding artifacts for a couple of layers. The team photographed their excavation unit completely and drew profile drawings that will help with later analysis. Profile drawings are very detailed and show the soil layers and measurements of each wall of the excavation unit.
In Lot 3, the interesting deposits continued. After attempting to clear out one of the many context layers, the team found yet another context layer and what appears to be a continuation of a previous one. Much of the afternoon was spent bringing the context layers to an equal plane and excavating out some more delicate artifacts, like complete bottles, faunal remains, and an almost completely intact shoe!
The three teams on the other side of the park in Area 2 came up with some interesting finds this week. The Lot 10 team uncovered a large drainage pipe in their 1×1 unit. This could mean the team is excavating a privy, and that the artifacts in their unit have not been disturbed they were thrown in the privy.
The Lot 11 team found lots of iron artifacts and bones this week, standard for our excavations so far. They thought the day was shaping up to be unremarkable, but then they found a 2 cent coin piece with the date of 1865! The coin will be helpful as they date the context layers in their unit, since the coin couldn’t have been deposited until 1865 or later.
The Lot 12 team continued with their unit and started a shovel test pit 5 meters from the unit. According to the maps, their unit should contain a privy, but so far the mixed soil is puzzling and it might mean they’ve been excavating backfill from when 16th street was moved. They are hoping that a few shovel test pits will reveal the whereabouts of the elusive privy, because the artifacts in the privy could be more definitively connected to the people that lived on Lot 12.
Kat working in Lot 12
We hope for good weather next week for our last full day of excavations! Is the team in Lot 4 really excavating a stable? Did the team from Lot 10 find a privy? What will the artifacts reveal about the people that lived in this neighborhood? Check back next week for more updates on these questions.