Dig Day #9: Backfill Day!

Mallory Moore

November 14th was a very eventful day for all of the excavation teams here at Roosevelt Park. This day was our very last chance to dig as we backfilled all of our units after an hour into the class period. After today we will not be returning to Roosevelt Park this semester. Even with this limited dig time, all of the teams were very productive.

The Lot 7 team found a great deal of plaster, wood, nails, and remnants of the house’s wall that once stood in the area. The team began to hit sterile soil in the northwest corner and found this layer throughout their entire unit towards the end of our dig time.

The Lot 13 team uncovered a metal pipe with an unidentified purpose in their unit going from west to east in their unit. This team also fully excavated the brick column in the center of their unit. They believe this column’s purpose was to support the house structure rather than an outbuilding because of how well-built and sturdy it is (Figure 1). The metal pipe is believed to have been placed their well after the column was placed, as indicated by the different soil layers around the pipe.


Figure 1: Column and pipe from Lot 13

The Lot 15 team worked on completing a .5 meter by .5 meter shovel test pit in their area because they had missed the outbuilding they had aimed for when completing their standard sized unit. The team discovered a broken tobacco pipe bowl, a large iron stake or nail, and a good amount of brick and mortar. The building materials indicate they were in an area where a small structure once stood.
Lastly, my team in Lot 14 dug for a brief amount of time to confirm we had reached the sterile soil, and once we did we were able to stop. Once we cleaned up the walls and completed all of the final recording details, we were able to remove all of the artifacts protruding from the walls. We discovered several bricks and nails, a few bones, and a piece of transfer-printed ceramic. Along with removing the artifacts, our team was able to excavate the hole in the north wall of out unit to determine if anything else could be learned from the inside (Figure 2). There were not markings or artifacts in the hole so its purpose is still unknown at the present time.


Figure 2: Excavated hole from Lot 14 with a trowel for scale

After the first hour of digging, all units had to stop and begin the process of documenting and mapping their units. Each unit team had to photograph all of the walls and pick one of the walls to do a scale drawing of on graph paper identifying the different soil layers. After this process the artifacts were removed from the walls of every unit and backfilling began. We put all of the dirt that was removed over the last few weeks back into the units. This process is important to the field of archaeology because as much as we want to learn from the past, it is also important to preserve the land for the future.