Sunday, June 10, 2012

It's Saturday...

... was the refrain on site all day. To get a 15-week college course into four weeks means a lot of intense work - digging 6 days a week, for instance. This is not entirely popular. Various students kept repeating "it's Saturday" today with inflections ranging from excitement (day off tomorrow) to exasperation to mutinous grumbling (as in, to explain a slow pace of digging). We did get through it, though, and capped off a very busy and productive week.

Kristina describing an exciting find...or threatening me with a brush?

The week (without sunscreen) in review

Despite the bad weather, we put in five days in the field and one in the archives. Most of us are convinced that Leigh can conjure up storms, so we want to stay on her good side - let's hope she's quiescent in the weeks to come. (0.1 hours of sunshine on Friday!)

In the past two days we've uncovered half a dozen features above the western wall of the house, including an apparently slanted posthole that may be the footing of a roof rafter. 

Kristina has been excavating within the hearth. She's found lots of nails (many hand-wrought, some clenched), two large iron bars (probably used to support hanging pots) and a beautiful handblown glass bottle. She came down today on a greasy grey ashy layer relating to when the hearth was in active use -but this seems to be above the general rubble/destruction layer. This suggests that 19th-century folk used the hearth when the site was a ruin, which would also explain the domestic refuse dating to that period and animal bones we found amongst the stone debris in other units. 

Several intriguing building stones also came out of the hearth fill. One was a long wedge-shaped block, which might have been angled to fit the bottom edge of a roof or the ridge line - if the roof had stone rather than thatched palmetto or shingles as its covering. 

Elsewhere at the Oven Site, we opened up a unit in the northwest corner of the house. Mimi was all fired up for Saturday and removed nearly a foot of stratigraphy. At the end of the day, she and Mike were exposing the vertical sides of the building cut and coming down on a layer of building stones. Mike also noted what looks like a round posthole set against the north wall at the edge of this unit. Despite the thickness of this layer, we did not find the dense concentration of rubble stones that we found at a similar depth elsewhere across the site...

The big important news of the past two days is. . . we think we've found a SECOND 17th-century timber-frame house. We've been clearing the area around it and laying down a grid to begin excavations next week. It looks very promising and is logically situated given Carter, Chard, and Waters' needs to farm land, build a shallop, and quickly access the open reefs for fishing and exploration. Several teams were deployed clearing trees that had grown up through the apparent floor of the building and surveying the site.

More on this site on MONDAY, so tune in! I for one am looking forward to our day off tomorrow. Those of you in Bermuda should go hear Dr. Brent Fortenberry speak about early modern Bermudian burial practices tomorrow at St. Mark's church hall at 3pm. I'll be there!

Did I mention that we have the best smelling site in the world? If you want to experience our Smiths Island dig in smell-a-rama, get yourself a stick of Old Spice deodorant and sniff it as you read - we're surrounded by allspice trees that give off a lovely odor when their leaves are broken - and we've been breaking a fair number of leaves as we clear the areas.

Photo of the week:
Mimi's lunch: clean carrot, dirty hand (what Munsell color  is that?)

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