Monday, July 16, 2012

Tours and Taking Stock

I've been quite busy taking part in St. George's 400th anniversary weekend. Yesterday I gave two well-attended lectures at the World Heritage Center on Earliest Bermuda, 1612-1625, reviewing the formidable challenges that settlers and the Virginia/Bermuda Companies faced in planting a successful colony here and some of the key assets that Bermuda's first white and black settlers brought to the table. It is quite remarkable how quickly a viable community linked through shared work, civil institutions, and religious commitment emerged, and how quickly English and African arrivals became Bermudians. I also joined about 60 others for a commemorative photo aboard the replica of the Deliverance - can you spot me?

Today (Sunday), Alexandra and I gave tours of the two Smiths Island archaeology sites to two groups that came by boat - about 70 in all in two waves.
Alexandra at CHB
Me explaining (or doing a Performance Art/Interpretive Dance at) Oven Site
It was really fun showing off the island I've come to love and a great impetus to take stock of this summer's dig's goals and achievements. Our main aims were to 1) establish that the Oven Site was in fact a timber frame building, 2) date the construction and abandonment of said site, 3) define the shape and dimensions of the house, and 4) open a small window into the stratigraphy of the CHB site and begin to assess dating and construction criteria for this new site. We achieved everything except #3 - mainly because the building is larger than we hypothesized. Moreover, at least in this one case, we proved that a house on Richard Norwood's 1663 survey map actually corresponds to a 17th-century site, enhancing the possibility of using this map to locate and investigate dozens more mid-17th-century sites.

As we took down the tarps that shaded and sheltered our dig and took closing overhead photos of the sites, it became clear the extent of the work we had done.

May 29
What became especially clear is the relationship of the two different sizes of post holes to each other:

The Cotton Hole Bight site also went through a dramatic change, from a shaded glen to an open platform suggesting the large size of the house that once stood there. Despite the heat, the two groups had a lot of energy and asked great questions. A few people were even excited enough to ask about volunteering next summer. All in all, a fantastic connection with Bermuda's most historically minded citizens.  

Rick looking piratical

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