We’ve gotten to the point in the field season when we’re all feeling the pressure of the end of the excavation looming – we only have a week and a half left! We have a lot of excavation units open, and we’ll be trying to finish these off and open just a few more in the remaining days.
The features that we are findings are falling into three categories. The biggest and most visible are the features associated with the construction of the ell in the 1860s, including the now very elaborate brick and tile conduit and drainage system and the foundation itself. Associated with these, we have a good collection of mid-19th-century artifacts. These include a few neat remnants of kids’ toys like the glass eye from a doll and a child’s teapot.
We also have a growing collection of earlier artifacts from some of the old ground surfaces under the ell and a few features. These features include one post hole, which would have supported the corner of some earlier outbuilding, and the large hole excavated to dig the original well. Both of these have some large fragments of redware in them. Redware is a coarse earthenware that was used to make all kinds of utilitarian vessels in the 18th and early 19th centuries, including milk pans, food storage jars, mugs, and chamber pots.
Our other early feature, which we are still trying to understand, is a badly disturbed cobble floor, walkway, or building support. Unfortunately, the cobbles have been disturbed by our third type of finding: more recent utility pipes for water and sewage! Three or four generations of pipes have cut through these cobbles, starting with the tile drain constructed in the 1860s. Because of this, we know that the cobble feature is older than 1860, but it’s hard to tell what it was because we have so little of it left.
There have been some really interesting artifacts associated with these early features, some buttons and some leather shoes, but I’ll leave those for another post.