Yesterday was the first day at Fort Tombecbe! Below is a picture of our team under the flags of the three European powers that occupied this site (not in chronological order, however):
As it was our first day, there was a lot to explain. We started off by driving over a bridge where we were able to see the Tombigbee River and the bluff on which the French established the fort. The river that we see today is much bigger than the one that existed when Fort Confederation and Fort Tombecbe operated. Although Fort Confederation was built above Fort Tombecbe, Fort Tombecbe was much larger.
After getting to the site, we toured Fort Confederation and the monument that was erected. Seeing the site in person helped to solidify its importance as a buffer against the British. Its location is strategically important because it is much further inland into the French territory. However, it was mainly used as a trading post.
Our first job, after setting up our cap where we house tools and gear, was to remove the sand that lay on top of the tarp, which protected the previous excavations made in 2012. Without a doubt, the hardest thing of a city gal like me was wielding the wheelbarrow! The picture below is of us removing the sand from above the tarp, which is visible at the edges:
Half of us focused on the bread over area:
The other half of us addressed the area where the palisade stood and possibly the banquette:
There is a post hole that was previously excavated and is thought to be part of the banquette. The site is laid out in a grid pattern of one meter squares. I was tasked to dig in the one meter square next to the one with post hole. We are hoping that this square also contains a post hole, which would provide us with more information in determining the location of the banquette and its particular construction. Before we could excavate, however, we had to remove the small vines that were growing over the previously excavated areas.
A note on bugs: I’m used to Texas sized bugs. But Alabama, you have some of the biggest bees and other bugs that I have ever seen!!
- Eleanor Kolb