Saturday, July 18, 2009

Weeks One and Two

The first two weeks of the field school and been jam-packed with some very exciting events. The first week featured mostly lecture. Our lectures covered everything from what an archaeological site is, to what we might be finding, to how and why we do what we do. Carin and I wanted to spend time imparting a range of information on the students that would be valuable to them as we teach how to properly excavate an archaeological site. In addition to lecture, the students got a rare opportunity to tour the collection of Revolutionary War artifacts that the National Park Service houses in the park. In addition to this, the park's historical architect, Tim Long, gave the student a behind the scenes look at three of the various general's quarters across the park.

Historical Architect Tim Long (far left) with the Field School.

Week two began the actual excavation phase of the field school. Carin and I wanted to revisit one of our largest finds from the 2008 season, the hut hearth. So far, the hearth is one of only three definitive archeological features that we have found representing the Continental Army's occupation of the landscape in the winter of 1777-1778. With the limits of the hut hearth exposed during the 2008 excavation, we wanted to spend time this summer expanding the excavation to see if we could find evidence of the dimensions of the hut. What we are looking for are features in the soil (post holes, log stains, etc.) that represent evidence of a building having once stood on that spot.

Hut Hearth Feature

We have a lot in store for this summer's field school. In addition to continuing the excavation of the hut hearth, based on visual inspection of the landscape we believe that we have another hut site adjacent to this hearth. We would like to open up units within this area to see if we do in fact have a hut site. Nearby this potential hut site, we also have a newly identified cluster of artifacts that was discovered by the Battlefield Restoration and Archaeological Volunteer Organization's (BRAVO) earlier metal detecting survey that we would like to explore. Finally, we would also like to revisit the camp kitchen that was discovered in 2008 and continue it's excavation that was cut short by the end of the field season.

There is a lot of exciting work to be done this summer! Stay tuned for updates from the students.

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