Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Indian Queen Excavation, Day 8: "Thanks to our Volunteers/ A couple artifacts from today"

Posted by Chrissie Sheckells, from the SHA, who has been volunteering at the site this week:

I am an environmental analyst at the Maryland State Highway Administration Headquarters in Baltimore. I write documents to make sure our projects comply with the National Environmental Policy Act. Cultural resources review and archeology are a big component of my documents but I have never experienced an actual dig before. I was excited to be able to get out from behind my desk and help out on the site.

Today I have been wet screening because the soil is too wet or has too much clay in it to be dry screened. Wet screening involves putting the soil in a screen and basically spraying it down with a hose so the artifacts can be seen more easily. My fellow volunteers and I have found many different types of artifacts. There were pieces of glass and pottery/ceramics. I love to find the pieces of ceramics in all different colors. There are whites, blues, greens, purples, yellows and many different patterns. Sometimes the pieces are extremely small but they are usually easy to see because of their colors. We have also found many nails in the screens. These are usually very corroded but easy to identify. Animal bones of all shapes and sizes as well as numerous oyster shells have also frequently turned up in our screens. Some of the more rare items that we have seen today are pipe stems, two intact cut nails which looked like they had been burned and a very small pin. We also found an animal tooth.

Another activity that took place today included recording the stratigraphy of the site. The archeologists record the different layers of soil they see in the walls of the pit they have dug and this can help them determine the time period and activities of that layer. This is my third day on the site and it is amazing to see all of the progress that has been made since last week.
It has been really interesting to learn about the methods of digging and cataloging (lots of counting) all of the artifacts. I have never really put much thought into archeology and it is fascinating to think that we are finding things that can tell us about activities that occurred at this site over 200 years ago. I am sad that this is my last day to be on site and I hope I have the opportunity to volunteer at another dig in the future!

And now an artifact from today:

This is one of the largest pieces of tin-glazed earthenware we have found at this site, in fact from any site many of us have worked at! (The piece on the right is about 3 inches across) It is also the oldest of the ceramic types we have been finding out here, being common on Maryland sites from the first years of European settlement through the third quarter of the 18th century. The piece is hand-painted in several different colors. (see: for more info)

No comments:

Post a Comment