A guest post written by Allison Conner, one of the students taking part in the field school at Gore Place–
Summer has arrived and with it the 2012 Gore Place Field School has begun! Taking place at the scenic and beautiful Gore Mansion near Waltham, Massachusetts, our excavation is a collaborative effort between the Gore Place Society and The Fiske Center for Archaeological Research. We will keep using the blog to make our research more accessible and to offer everyone a chance to learn about the project and participate in an ongoing dialogue about our results. We are very excited about this project and expect to uncover some truly incredible things. Make sure to check back regularly for updates on the progress of the excavation and its results!
Last week was our first week of excavation at the site led by Dr. Christa Beranak and Dr. David Landon. Our goals for this summer include opening a large excavation area to determine what type of greenhouse Gore built on his property, defining several features around the greenhouse structure, and finding out more about an area which once held a grapery wall and later greenhouses using geophysics. We have gotten excellent results from ground penetrating radar survey undertaken by Dr. John Steinberg and Dr. Brian Damiata which shows numerous features across the site including the greenhouse foundation, an exterior wall, and a large circular feature (see previous Gore Place blog entry). The time invested in geophysical survey will allow us to place excavation units more accurately.
This week we laid out a 2 meter by 10 meter trench which should cut across part of the northern and southern foundation of the greenhouse structure. We got off to a slow start this week, but by the time we wrapped up on Friday we had dug far enough down that we were uncovering large bricks and historical artifacts. While some of those artifacts were modern, like a 1950s penny, we also found several fragments of historic ceramics, a horseshoe, and part of a skeleton key which likely date to the time when the greenhouse was standing. We expect to find many more lock and key artifacts during our excavation since the greenhouse structure would have held valuable exotic plants kept tightly secure within the building. All in all we’ve had a great first week! We are hoping that the rain holds off so we can get back to digging!