Friday, June 12, 2009

Day 11: You'd Think We Have Had Enough of This Place...

Though it was the last scheduled day for the Market Master’s excavation, there is more to come! Firstly, we will make up for our rain days with three or four days of fieldwork during the last week in June. We will finish some unfinished units that turned up some exciting things, and open up some additional units. Additionally, the University of Maryland team will dig trenches in the parking lot of the Mango Café next week to determine if intact resources exist beneath the pavement. On August 12th the Anacostia Watershed Society will kindly host us for a Public History Workshop in which we will have a guest lecturer, historian Susan Pearl, give a talk about transportation and change in Bladensburg. Additionally we will give a short presentation of preliminary project results. Stay tuned for more updates on this exciting project.

Here is a posting from Tara Giuliano about her experiences at the site:
“I got the chance to work on Test Unit 1 and Test Unit 8, both on the south side of the house. The units were both unique and different- even though they were 6 feet from each other! We have been getting a lot of smoking items, such as pipe stems and pipe bowls. Most of them were made of white ball clay called kaolin, but we did fine one special pipe that was made of stoneware and is smaller and thicker then your average tavern pipe. All these pipe steams and pipe bowls suggest the Market Master house was definitely an area that was used by the public. I can't wait to get these artifacts into the lab and cleaned!
Today was my unofficial last day doing field work in the state of Maryland, and my last day on the Bladensburg project. This fall I will be attending the University of West Florida in Pensacola, and I am gearing up for a rather large move next month. Working with the Maryland State Highway Administration has giving me a great opportunity to do many things in the field of cultural resources, but I am really glad I got the chance to work on the Bladensburg project. Both the Magruder house and the Market Master house gave us so much information into the town of Bladensburg and what these houses were used for in the 18th and 19th centuries.”

We also asked Vincent Shirbach to write a bit about his experience at public day, which was a fantastic experience for all of us. His narrative is followed by a few great photos:
“Hi everyone! I would like to thank everybody who came out for public day last Saturday. The turnout was fantastic and way more than we expected. I absolutely enjoyed talking to folks about archaeology and what we’re doing. People from all over got a chance to talk one on one ad hoc with archaeologists with different backgrounds on the same project, and we embrace the curiosity. I'll tell you, archaeology is no big secret, so ask us anything!
Aside from the three rainy days in which we were forced indoors (or outside playing in the puddles with the neighborhood kids…), we are actually coming across so much evidence of the trade market and even prehistoric artifacts that we are constantly stopping and running over to see what people have found. It’s a good thing, trust me! In TU 4, we have found the iron frame to a double barreled pistol, which is surprisingly heavy and could not have been practical considering its weight alone without the rest of the firearm’s assemblage. A beautiful porcelain tea set was found early in the unit, along with gold-leafed porcelain creamer which the house’s residents (who I must also thank for their unbelievable hospitality and generosity) possessed the matching piece! Talk about a stroke of luck! I have to say that it’s the complex plethora of ceramic artifacts that intrigues me the most. Sensible enough considering this was a trading port and possibly one of America’s first post offices. Seriously: the porcelain, redware, yelloware, pearlware, stoneware, creamware… it’s gorgeous.”

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