Friday, May 8, 2009

Day 4 - One Mystery Leads to Another

Another exciting day in the field. We are getting towards the bottoms of our first set of test units. Every era of Bladensburg's history is in evidence. We found some evidence of the restoration of the Magruder house, and earlier work on the house, in context with artifacts from the time period. In one area of the site we are finding a Native American occupation that occupied the slope overlooking the spring and the Anacostia River long before Bladensburg was created. We found explanantions for some of the mysteries from yesterday, such as the strange "Chinese coin" we found at the end of the day yesterday.
Here is a video from Julie Schablitsky, our chief archaeologist and principal investigator, talking about some of our finds:
video

And here is a narrative from field staff Jenn Babiarz:

"I was out here working on Tuesday when we first started exploring the archeology of the site and today we are really beginning to understand some of the landscape changes that have been occurring over the last few hundred years. Part of what makes urban archaeology so interesting is its complexity; people in the past were very imaginative with their use of space in a small area, particularly in how they combined or separated their work and living spaces.

Today we’ve found 20th century fill in the back yard on top of some historic living surfaces. Some of the artifacts we found include clay marbles, butchered bone (you can even see the saw marks from where they cut it!), pipe stem, lighting glass, the base of a bottle made with a snap case mold (a late 19th century technology), and lots of kinds of ceramics. Not to mention lots of brick, mortar and nails! Most of the ceramic and glass was broken up pretty small, which is typical for what archaeologists call yard scatter. Yard scatter is the little pieces of trash that end up in yard living and work areas that get missed during sweeping and that get walked on daily (and therefore getting broken up into small pieces)".

Here is a picture of our field lab, trying to keep up with the steady stream of material we are bringing out of the ground:



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