Friday, June 1, 2012

Find of the Day and a shipboard gam

Today I modeled our new field school t-shirt (available nowhere fine apparel is sold) as we excavated the rubble layer we uncovered yesterday.
In front of the State House, built in 1620 and one of the oldest standing structures in English America


The layer is associated with the "death" of the house - broken bricks perhaps deposited after someone robbed out the interior brick lining of the oven in the back of the hearth. The coolest find of the day was a bone-handled jackknife in the middle unit:


By the end of the day, the rubble layer was out, exposing a compacted lens of white limestone powder, also probably associated with the destruction or dismantling of the building. All in all, we've removed 20-30 cm of dirt in four discreet layers in four days - a creditable pace and a real testament to how quickly JQELK have mastered the basics of digging, site recording, and reasoning about stratigraphic relationships!

At 2pm, we had guests - 17 students from the Sea Education Association's Corwith Cramer sail training vessel, who are in Bermuda for a week studying maritime history as a complement to their oceanography and scientific research curriculum (they spent the morning snorkeling over the Warwick, which sank in 1619 in Castle Harbour). I was impressed that they readily answered my various questions about Bermudian and Atlantic history on the fly (ambergris, anyone?) and asked really sharp questions about our site. After we closed up shop for the day, they kindly invited us aboard for dinner and gave us a tour - I found my old berth and remembered long, happy stints at the wheel and bow-watch in the pre-dawn hours when it was just me, the sea, a million stars, and the occasional dolphin sporting in the bow wave.

We had a great dinner and gam with the SEA students who weren't off to the Swizzle Inn to celebrate someone's birthday. Thanks to John Jensen and Rod Mather for a great conversation about marine archaeology and maritime history - it was great to hear about their ECU days and remember the wild field schools that Gordon Watts put on in the 1990s and living in the BMM "hostile." We wish them a safe and speedy passage and "good science" while bound to Woods Hole.

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