Thursday, May 14, 2009

Day 9: Time Is Flying By! One Day Left at the Magruder House.

"Hi, my name is Richard Ervin - I’m a Senior Archeologist with the Maryland State Highway Administration. I graduated from the University of Maryland (College Park) and then spent about 10 years in Tucson where I got a Master’s from the University of Arizona. I’ve been with State Highways for 20 years.

I just finished my second day of excavations at the Magruder House. Mayor Walter James stopped by this morning to pay us visit. We showed him some of the artifacts we’ve found over the last two weeks, and explained our field methods. Mayor James hopes to join us in early June when we start excavations at the Market Masters House. We promised him that by the end of a day of digging he would be a pro!

On Tuesday I excavated in the unit farthest from the house, in soil layers dating to the middle eighteenth century. We found many pieces of animal bone in an excellent state of preservation. Once we get back to the lab we’ll be able to figure out what kinds of food the occupants of the Magruder House were serving. We found a wide variety of pottery types dating between 1740 and 1780, during the early occupation of Magruder.

This fall, I’m looking forward to starting excavations at the Bladensburg Battlefield. Although there has been a lot of development in the area where the battle occurred, we hope to find intact remains from the day almost two hundred years ago when British soldiers fought their way into the Nation’s Capital."

Update on the Native American component of the site. Yesterday we found these two bifaces (spear or knife points). They are probably LeCroy bifurcate base points. They are made of metarhyolite, which can be found in Western Maryland. Most people consider them to be Early Archaic, or circa 5,000-7,000 B.C. Bladensburg's archaeological history just extended by about 5000 years!

All over the site we are mapping, photographing and interpreting the profiles of the units we dug before we cover them back up tomorrow. The profiles are the vertical surfaces of the units that show us a cross section of the way the soil has been deposited at the Magruder House.

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