Week four has been a week of constant flux for the excavation. Every other day there has been something completely new to contend with. However, despite these setbacks, we have gotten a lot accomplished.
We began the week with a day off due to Carin’s unfortunate illness. Luckily with that day of rest under her belt, we were able to jump right in and get to work on Tuesday. This week we were finally able to devote our full attention to the new potential hut site, just North of the 2008 hearth. The main goal for this area is to get as much of the potential feature opened and exposed, so that we will be able to see the full picture. At the beginning of the week we had five units along the Western and Southern edge open. From this, we were able to discern what looks like the Western and Southern edges of a rectangular dark stain.
As we continued on with the excavation, we opened two more units to the North to try a get a better picture. This was done so that we could see what was taking place with the rocks that we could see exposed just to the West of the large tree in the excavation area. This would turn out to be a big discovery on the final day of the week.
Come Thursday, after suffering yet another rain day (luckily we got a morning of digging in and an afternoon at Temple), we resumed excavation with now seven units open. At this point, we had basically all but a portion of the North edge as well as the Northeastern corned of the feature exposed. Thursday also brought our first definitively encampment artifact from this potential hut site. Out of the center of the Western edge of the feature came a musket ball with very diagnostic feature. From what we can observe, it looks like the ball has been loaded into a musket, but had not been fired. This can be identified by a flattened side that would be the result of a ramrod forcing the ball into the barrel. In addition to this, there is also a scar from where a “worm” (similar to a corkscrew) was drilled into the ball to remove it from the barrel, unfired. The feature has also yielded pieces of a clay pipe, the second one we have found in our excavations at the Chapel.
Friday brought a new look for the site. Who would have though that in the middle of the woods we would choose to excavate in the one area that is completely in the sun. To help combat this one of our fellow archaeologists, Joe Blondino, came by and helped us erect a tent over the entire area of excavation. With this in place, we will no longer have to combat the sun’s harsh drying effects on the site.
Getting back to the units with the exposed rocks; we have continued to excavate these units, all the while trying to figure out what is chimney fall and what might be actual intact hearth structure. All we long, it had been looking like we might be faced with a hearth that had been destroyed both by the deconstruction of the hut, as well at root action from the adjacent tree. As we removed most of the out of place stones, it became apparent that below them there were several large, flat stones that were still in place. Carin is fairly confident that we have the remains of a hearth. If this is the case, then we would have another corner hearth yet again. Could we have an entire brigade of corner hearths?
We look forward to excavating more of this feature to get a better idea of what to come. With two weeks to go, we still have a lot on our plate. More to come!