Plaster and Pearlware and Pig’s Teeth, Oh my!

Day two is complete, and the weather was much kinder today!  We got there bright and early and immediately picked up where we left off.  My group was a bit behind, so we were working pretty hard to catch up and get the topsoil cleared.  However, we quickly hit a problem when we happened upon a whole lot of rocks, a tarp, and a soil change after just a couple of inches.  When our field supervisors came over to check it out they informed us that our unit was directly intersected by a trench called the “Shuster Trench”, which was left by an archaeologist in the 1990’s.  They said that we would have to excavate it as a feature, which I was very excited about!  After clearing the topsoil and throwing it all into a wheelbarrow, we carted it over to the screening area and began searching for artifacts.  I was amazed by how quickly we were finding things, and the enormous amount of artifacts we had when we were done!  It was a lot of long and tedious work though, and it took well over 3 hours to complete in the morning and another couple in the afternoon.  It got pretty hot today, but we were all more than happy to get back to the pit and dig a little before screening again.  We were supposed to start scraping the dirt off to get down to the next layer and to level it out, but the large amount of rocks in the feature made it quite complicated.  We did the best we could and by the time 4:30 rolled around we were finally done with the top layer.  We finished our screening for the day and by the time we were finished we must have had at least a hundred artifacts.

Because of the trench we found A LOT of plaster from old buildings, which was discarded during the previous investigation.  We also found some brick, lots of shells (including two nearly whole oysters), a nail, three pig’s teeth, a strange cylindrical item that no one was able to identify, and some very neat ceramic pieces.  One such piece (shown below) was a beautiful painted fragment which our supervisor identified as a possible Washington artifact!  Another group found fragments of a tobacco pipe, which I must admit, I was rather jealous of, but perhaps as we get deeper into our unit we’ll find one too!

It was really exciting to get my hands dirty (really, really dirty) and actually start finding things today!  I honestly loved the work, too.  It was hot and tiring, but the atmosphere was wonderful and the people are so nice.  Tomorrow we get to photograph and draw our unit, and then start in on the next layer, so hopefully we’ll happen upon even more great finds!

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