Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Market Master's House, Second Season, Day 3, What a Surprise Today!

Everyone came in feeling a bit tired for our third day of fieldwork. We have had an interesting few days, but are already coming towards the bottoms of our first units. Luckily, we found some pretty neat stuff! Another piece of the puzzle we are putting together about Bladensburg's history. We asked Frank Mikolic and Zak Andrews to talk about what they were finding in Test Unit 12, located in the central portion of the site. Here is what Zak had to say:

"When I arrived at the Market House in Bladensburg this morning, I thought I knew what to expect; glass shards, maybe some nineteenth century ceramic, bits of bone. To my surprise, not even an hour into one of the central units here, we came upon a discovery of a prehistoric stone point found at its’ northeast corner. 30 minutes later, a second stone point poked its head out of the past into our hands. The two points were accompanied by a few dozen stone flakes, none much larger than the size of my pinky fingernail. Prehistoric/archaic artifacts were the last thing I was expecting to find among the colonial theme of things, so naturally I am thinking, “What does this all mean!?” With the help of my Maryland colleagues and the fine staff at the SHA, I’m sure we can come to the bottom of this mystery. This was my first discovery of a worked stone since my emerging practice into the field of historic archaeology and has surely caught my interest. Just goes to show you that you can never be too sure of what you might find out in the field; the past might just surprise you."

And Frank:

"Test Unit 12 produced excitement from the beginning of the morning until late into the afternoon. We kicked off the unit excavation by finding a 1865 2-cent coin along with various late eighteenth century ceramic types, including English Brown, Scratch Blue, Jackfield, and White Salt Glaze. Although there seemed to be some intrusions of nineteenth century artifacts, including the 1865 coin, the majority of artifacts recovered today within TU 12 dated to the late eighteenth century. Below this layer we began to recover a large amount of rhyolite flakes along with two rhyolite broadspear-type projectile points. Finding so much rhyolite in Prince George’s County is significant as much of the prehistoric lithics recovered in PG County and neighboring Montgomery County are from quartz and quartzite materials. Two fragments of prehistoric ceramic were also recovered during excavation of TU 12; it seems to be grit-tempered, but further analysis will be need to confirm both the temper and type. Our excavation of the test unit is approaching the sub-soil and we will likely complete it tomorrow morning. I am looking forward to the excavation of the adjacent unit so we can chase this rhyolite artifact concentration."

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