Dig Day #3: Outhouses and more Outhouses!

Bridget Bennane

This week we all expected it to be a bit muddy but we were pleasantly surprised that there were no lakes in the park from the weekend’s rain! All units this week found some faunal (animal) bones (Figure 1)!


Figure 1: This is a vertebra (spinal bone) of an animal found in Lot 13.

Over in Area 1, Lot 14, they found a variety of items including a penny from 1944 and a rounded piece of metal that could possibly be a musket ball.

Lot 7, which is also in Area 1, had two shovel test pits going (STPs). The goal of STP #2 was to find the outhouse of the former houselot. They found a large piece of ceramic and lots of building materials (mostly mortar). STP #3 is along the boundary of the former house that is linked with STP #2’s outhouse. They found some oyster shells, a bell, and a high concentration of architectural materials (mortar, plaster, and brick).

The last group in Area 1 is working in Lot 13. They are investigating an area where an apartment building was constructed in the 1910s, possibly after the condemnation orders were issued for buildings in the neighborhood. This week they found some blue transferware pottery, which is a white ceramic with a blue decorative print (Figure 2).


Figure 2: A piece of the blue transfer-printed pottery found in Lot 13.

And finally, my group in Area 3 reopened (because we have to refill ours in Area 3 at the end of each dig day) our STP #3 and started another called STP #4. We are trying to hit as many of the outhouses in our area as possible in order to collect a wide variety of data about the people who once lived in the neighborhood before the park and train station were constructed. And we can do this because STPs are meant to be fast. So far we have located two of the outhouses and we’ve found everything from architectural material, to buttons, and a possible pig’s tusk (see the link below)!

Check out this link to see a 3D rendering (done by Beau Kromberg, a Wayne State anthropology graduate student) of the pig’s tusk from Area 3: https://skfb.ly/TZ7B

What kind of commonalities and differences will our STPs in Area 3 show us about the neighbors of that block? Using the faunal bones, maybe we’ll be able to assess the kinds of meat that residents in the neighborhood once ate.