Friday, June 14, 2013

Wrapping Up Week 2

Excavating the dump area. Chock-a-block with artifacts.

It has been so busy here that this is the first chance I've had to post to the site about the excavations!

We are just finishing up in Area A, a dumpsite on the other side of Route 9 from the main part of Wiawaka. We knew it was there because there were artifacts (ceramics and glass) on the surface of the ground back in the woods. The artifacts appeared to be early twentieth century, the right time period for early Wiawaka history. We dug two one-meter square units (3 x 3 feet) in the center of the dump to get a sample of the artifacts and several shovel test pits (one foot round holes) across the area to determine how big it is. The shovel testing isn't completed, so I will have to report back!

Excavating shovel test pits in Area A.

We have recovered lots of artifacts from this area, including broken plates, cups, and saucers, bottle glass, table glass (pieces of stemmed water glasses and tumblers), and glass from oil lamp chimneys (and one of the wick mechanisms from one of these oil lamps). There are also lots of rusted tin cans and coal here. Small artifacts we recovered include several sewing pins, small ceramic buttons of the size that you would find on underwear or collars, eyelets from shoes (lots of these!), and a few very small faceted black glass beads. Also found was a Sacred Heart of Jesus medal.

Sacred Heart of Jesus medal, machine made. The motto (on the other side) is in French. On this side, Jesus is surrounded by fleur de lys.

There were a few earlier artifacts, including early nineteenth century shell edged creamware and a tiny piece of pre-contact Native American pottery mixed in the dump, as well as late twentieth century materials. This tells me that the dump did not accumulate in place, but was dumped in this location from somewhere else. From the late twentieth century materials, probably in the 1970s (though I need to do more research to get specific dates on these artifacts). The rich black soil in the dump makes me think that this was perhaps from a privy clean-out.

Lamp hardware from an oil lamp. This FIRESIDE model was patented in the late 1870s.


Next week, we move to a dump area closer to the main buildings. There are still spaces available for volunteers to come out; email me at mes@umd.edu for more information.

I post daily photos to the Wiawaka Project Facebook page here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank yo for the update - sounds very exciting and adds another chapter to the overall story of Wiawaka.