Friday, June 19, 2015

Public Tour TOMORROW, Saturday June 20th!

Yes, you can come out and see our work in person! Please contact the Bermuda National Trust Tour link here for tickets and more information! Or look at the St. George's Foundation page.

It's hard to believe we are approaching our last week in the field! Time flies when you are having fun (and exhausted... and excited ... and excavating...), and we've made tremendous progress on Oven Site. We are now down through the circa 1640-1705 floor layers and the c. 1640 construction layer associated with expanding the original one-room house into two rooms. Within a day or two, we will finally reach the enigmatic iron plate we discovered at the end of last season and begin field conservation on it to attempt to recover it intact (thanks, Kristina, for the Renaissance Wax).
The north cut of the earliest phase of Oven Site, with a multi-course stone wall adjoining. The dark gray layer
to the south dates to circa 1640, when the house was expanded west. The iron plate is in the upper left corner.

Two additional new finds at Oven Site spring from sheer luck. In order to map the extent of sheet refuse deposition in front of the site, we undertook a series of small (50 cm x 50 cm) test pits radiating out. One came down on a 30 cm-diameter posthole some 40 ft. north of the house - an incredibly lucky placement.  


And then another test pit bisected another feature, which appears to be a mortar and plaster lined water tank or trough constructed closer to the house. The latter warranted new units to expose its dimensions and stratigraphically excavate the feature fill. Here's hoping it's related to the 17th century, rather than the 1970s hydroponic farmers!

In preparation for Saturday's tour, on Thursday we paused work at Oven Site to open up the three other sites (I had planned to do this on Wednesday, but we lost that day to rain squalls - but not before a very wet half-ride across the harbour on the barge!). 



The students gave their all clearing brush, taking up last year's backfill, mapping, and laying out new units.

Leigh and the Smallpox Bay crew ingeniously rigged up the shredded remains of a spinnaker sail I found thrown out as their tarp, making the site look like the home of some shipwrecked sailors. They also cleared up the midden we found at the end of last year and are now ready to continue digging it.


Samantha was joyously reunited with her Cave Site, and directed Cam and a crew of volunteers in continuing the excavations further back in the cave and also opening a new unit further along the rock outcropping to see if there is another cave opening that is now completely filled in.


Jim is focusing on a (probable) limekiln in Cotton Hole Bight valley adjoining the main road. There is an oven-like feature cut into the side, and also many side features that seem to have once housed horizontal posts. How deep will it go?  We hope to find out in the next week - a (reverse-Obama Education) "Race to the Bottom" effort!

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