Thursday, July 28, 2016

Photo Shoot

Working our way down to the occupation zone! (Photo Credit: Austin George)

Hello again! This is Connor and over the past few days my unit went through an exciting and important time in the excavating process. We were continuing to excavate our one by one meter unit down to 50cm when we made some intriguing finds. At this level we expected to break through the plow zone and begin to excavate the occupation zone, so we would see 18th century artifacts lying as they were left over 200 years ago. One of the things that we started to notice was that a bone midden, which is essentially a trash pit, in a unit from last year appears to continue into the unit that Nolan and I had dug ourselves. Not only that, but were also surprised by a large stone that is resting just within the occupation zone and is aligned diagonally across our units with another possible structural stone in the two by one unit to our east. With a little more observation we had begun to see that the frequency of bones in the south of our two units was drastically higher than in the north of them. Similarly the line that the two stones form seems to be correlated with the discrepancy in bone distribution. More bones are found south of the rocks and relatively few to the north of the rocks. This is really exciting for us because our original one by one unit was placed in anticipation of intercepting the south wall of a French colonial home and our working hypothesis is that this may be it and the midden is where refuse from the house was tossed out.
Our plan view in the 1x1m unit. (Photo credit: Austin George)
            With having reached our occupation zone and knowing that we have artifacts that are in their original orientation, we began to prepare the unit to be photographed. This entailed clean scraping the walls and floor of the unit to ensure the soils are clear and easily distinguishable, helping us to document the stratigraphy for future reference. The next step was to place the site and unit information on sign board along with a north facing arrow, with a scale in centimeters, into the unit without obstructing any artifacts and taking several pictures from above. After both color and black and white photos were taken, we began to create a one by one meter map of the unit with all objects in the unit represented to scale. This is a most critical time for excavating the unit, as every object is lying where it was when the fort was occupied and if this information is not recorded then it will be destroyed if we excavate any further. Each layer of soil helps us better understand how artifacts are in relation to each other and that not only helps archaeologists but everyone understand the site better. So with the preliminary documentation of the occupation zone complete and with a bit of luck, Nolan and I may find what we set out looking for.  Stay tuned!

1 comment:

Nick Bacon said...

This is very interesting. Do you know if the bone midden was created from people from the fort or was there Native Americans near the area that might have created the bone midden? I am also
curious, are measurements of the fort in feet? I know historic buildings were mapped in feet, so archaeologists use feet to compare historic maps to what was found.