We finished the first layer this morning! Once we evened it out we photographed it, then I drew a sketch and wrapped up the paperwork for that context. It took a few hours to get everything done though, as the trench feature made it difficult to level the ground.
The trench (called the “Shuster Trench”) is the result of a previous excavation at the site in the 1990’s. The man who did the work dug a trench down the middle of the region we are currently working on in an attempt to find the foundation of the Washington house. He was unsuccessful, however, because he was digging in the wrong place and he also did not dig all the way down. Once he finished looking, he laid down a tarp and then filled the trench with unscreened soil, rocks, and sand. The result is a massive pit of rocks, bricks, plaster (a lot of plaster), and tiny bits of artifacts here and there covering over half of our 5×5 foot unit. There is also a piece of the tarp sticking up from the ground after just a few inches were removed, which is strange as it is over a foot below the surface in the preceding units. This was not a huge problem in the first layer, but the further we get the more difficult it becomes to excavate!
I have learned to dislike the screening process, as we spend most of our time there trying to separate tiny artifacts from rocks of varying sizes and chunks of plaster. This layer did have some interesting artifacts though. I found a rare piece of ceramic that dates back to the 1600’s, and we discovered some Washington-era ceramics as well. We also found some iron pieces, including a nail and a clothespin spring. There was a bone fragment of some kind as well, which was very cool.
The rest of the units on the site yielded some pretty exciting artifacts today, including our first wig curlers of the excavation! Ferry Farm is big on wig curlers at the moment, as over a hundred of them have been found in the area where we are currently digging. This is quite strange, but it may suggest that there was some kind of wig maintenance building somewhere nearby. I suffered from severe artifact envy every time one of them was found today, but I remain optimistic that once we get past the trench we will find some curlers or a pipe fragment in our unit too!
Once again the rain cut our day about an hour short, but tomorrow we will finish the second layer and hopefully get through a good portion of the trench. I will also be posting some pictures of the site and our excavation soon, so stay tuned!