Dig Day #6: Features in Full Swing

Kailey McAlpin

Monday, October 24th was another successful day in the field for WSU archaeology students!

Team Trowel in Lot 13 spent the day excavating a feature made up of primarily architectural material (Figure 1).  The feature could possibly be part of a foundation wall, but is unusual in that artifacts were discovered on, under, and within the feature!  Stay tuned as Team Trowel continues to uncover more about their mysterious architectural feature.figure-1Figure 1: WSU archaeology student Ashlee Jed and WSU archaeology Professor Dr. Ryzewski hard at work in Lot 13

In Lot 14, Team Bones was busy digging up a feature of their own (Figure 2).  Diggers found a great deal of artifacts while excavating the feature, including animal bones, metal, coal, a pumpkin seed, and animal teeth.  It looks like Team Bones may have stumbled upon a trash deposit and we can’t wait to see what types of artifacts they discover next!

figure-2Figure 2: Terri Renaud, member of Team Bones, carefully unearths the feature in Lot 14

Next door in Lot 15, Team Plumbob made great progress transitioning from their second to their third soil layer (Figure 3).  Within these soil layers, students found some special artifacts, which included an eyelet, pieces of fabric, a brick, pieces of decorated pottery, and animal bones.  Due to the scattered distribution of artifacts, Team Plumbob believes that their excavation unit may be situated in the backyard of what was once a residential property.  Only time (and more digging) will tell!

figure-3Figure 3: Team Plumbob sifting soil with the Michigan Central Station in the background

Over in Lot 7, my team (Team Stratigraphy) was busy unearthing two features that appeared in the second soil layer (Figure 4).  The first feature included a row of large rocks surrounded by clay and may have been used to level the ground in order to build the foundation of a house.  The second feature was a circular, yellow discoloration in the soil and may indicate that either a metal pipe or a post hole was once placed there.  The second soil layer also yielded high volumes of artifacts, leading Team Stratigraphy to believe that their excavation unit may be part of the backyard and the foundation of the house that once made up a residential property.

figure-4Figure 4: Zack Diedrich and Hanne Willeck, members of Team Stratigraphy, sifting soil and photographing architectural features in Lot 7

Will Team Trowel figure out what their feature represents?  What will Team Plumb-Bob discover in their third soil layer?  Why were there so many artifacts discarded next to the house on Lot 7?  And what ever happened to that weird smell in Lot 14?!  We’ll keep you posted with the answers to these questions and more as we continue to excavate Roosevelt Park!