Saturday, July 25, 2009

Week Three - Laura Kaufman

For our third week in Valley Forge, we continued expanding the area located around the large hearth, which had been found through the previous year’s excavation. Located in the unit just north of where the hearth lays, we have uncovered what we recognize to be the chimney fall from the hut. Also to the northeast of the hearth, a trash pit feature was found, which thus far has produced a number of animal bones and glass, some charcoal and nails. As for the huts dimensions, we are still unsure how the building was constructed, or even who had occupied the living quarters during the revolution.

Due to storms in the area on Tuesday the crew met at Temple in the archaeology lab. This gave us a prime opportunity to see a different side of archaeology. For many of us it was the first time we experienced the cleaning and cataloging process of artifacts. We cleaned numerous artifacts that had been found by the 2007 Field School, which had also excavated in Valley Forge at the Washington Memorial Chapel. It appeared that some of my fellow classmates did not entirely enjoy doing the lab work, while others remained interested in seeing what had been found prior to our field school. This was a nice opportunity to obtain an understanding of lab work, while also giving us more examples of cultural materials that we should be on the look out for during our own work at the site.

As we continued to have trouble with the rain on Thursday, we could only put in a half-day on excavating. In the afternoon, we set up a pair of 10’ x 10’ units a short distance north of our current excavation at the hearth. A suspicious collection of rocks, a tree and a rectangular indent in the ground has led to a hypothesis that a hut once stood in the location of our future excavation spot. Since the rocks could be an indication of a hearth/chimney fall and trees often like to grow in the rich organic soils left behind from a hearth, a rectangular indentation in front of the tree was one more reason to pick this as our next spot. After finding little evidence of who camped at the location of our hearth excavation, we can only hope to find more information about who may have spent the 1778 winter on the chapel grounds. Friday we began opening up new grid units at the suspicious area as we reach the half way point of our field school experience.

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