Friday, May 23, 2014

Day 5

Today was the fifth day of our excavation at Fort Tombecbe and the last day of our work week. Team Bakery is still excavating the bakery area and Team Palisade is still excavating the area in and around the wall area.

After lunch we went around to each unit and the excavator explained what was happening in their area. The bakery area (Team Bakery) has an interesting collection of stacked chalk made bricks that could be the corner of the bakery. On the southern end of the bakery area some interesting finds were made, one of which was a blue glass bead found by B.J. This is significant because beads are a rarity here at Fort Tombecbe, whereas in other forts they can be scattered everywhere and very common. Natalie, in the unit next to B.J.’s, throughout the day uncovered a bunch of nails and realized that they seemed to be in a line. B.J. then also uncovered a nail that was in line with the ones in Natalie’s unit. As if this was not enough, Team Bakery took the win for the day when Natalie also uncovered a hinge. At this point all we can do is speculate what this accumulation of artifacts means but they are tantalizing clues!

I would like to point out that Natalie’s nails are an example of why archaeologists pull back layers of dirt one at a time at a painstakingly slow pace. If it had been decided to shovel through the hard chalk to where we thought there might be something we never would have noticed the placement of the nails in a line. We would have known they came from a general area but the placement is very helpful in understanding that part of the site and what was going on there.

As previously stated in another post, Lee and I opened new units in the wall area. Today I got closer to the bottom of level A which is several inches deep and I began to uncover small artifacts such as glass, bits of brick, animal bone fragments, and one nail. It was interesting to find the nail on the outside of the wall and not on the inside of the fort. Because this nail was outside of the wall and this was somewhat unusual I had to piece plot it.

To piece plot an artifact first you set out a folding measuring tape along the edge of your unit so it is lined up with your marker flags. Then you measure out from the wall how far it is into the unit. To ensure accuracy you use a plumb bob which is a weighted and pointed tool tied to a string that you hang over your artifact to make finding your measurement easier.

Plumb Bob

Plumb Bob Example 1 (Not Fort Tombecbe)

Plumb Bob Example 2(Not Fort Tombecbe)

The South East corner of my unit is part of Feature 2 which is the palisade wall and it is darker in color and contrasts well with the surrounding chalk. The texture is also different, the chalk is hard and when scrapped away with a trowel becomes dusty and the Feature 2 dirt is softer and crumbles. The area around the feature is where all of the pieces of brick, bone, and glass have been coming from.

Eleanor uncovered a piece of pottery sticking out of the wall of her unit on the inside of the palisade wall in an area that had different color and texture. There was another spot like this two units over which she has begun to excavate as well. Brian and Ron are excavating the palisade wall and found a small blue bead (I know I said it was rare but we got lucky today). They also found a piece of hand painted faience, white with blue paint.

Over all we have made a lot of progress this week and have had some great finds!

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