Making Progress

We took down almost half of our unit today!  We started on the half with the trench in it, but as we moved further down we realized that a portion of it was much darker and looser, which our supervisor James said was probably just the result of two different wheelbarrows full of dirt that were used as the trench fill.  In any case we needed to take them down separately, so now we have about a quarter of the unit fully excavated, and on Monday we will be finishing the trench part completely!  So far we have not stumbled upon any terribly interesting finds, although we did get a couple of large teeth today, which are still my favorite thing to find!

My professor from VCU, Dr. Bernard Means, stopped by Ferry Farm to do some 3D scanning of the site today, which was a nice surprise.  The 3D scanning is part of a rather interesting project that is supported by Virginia Commonwealth University and the Department of Defense.  Dr. Means travels to various archaeological sites along the east coast and scans artifacts, creating 3-dimensional digital images of the items that one can see in incredible detail on the computer.  The goal is to use this technology to study, analyze, and conserve artifacts in digital form, while also exploring the idea of creating a public database that would allow people to see these artifacts without traveling great distances or endangering the fragile condition that many are in.  He also has a 3D printer, which can be used to print plastic replicas of the artifacts.  He brought some of the replicas with him today, including one of a pipe that was found at Ferry Farm a few years ago.  It was great to have him on site, and to see the scanning project in action too!

In all, this was a great week.  I can’t believe that this field school is already halfway over!  I’m amazed by how much I have learned, and I’ve even noticed that I’m not asking for help nearly as much anymore.  After three weeks I have become quite confident in my ability to spot soil changes, identify artifacts, and complete my paperwork without assistance.  It’s a great feeling to know that I am capable of doing this job well, and I feel so lucky that I get to have this experience in my life!

(Dr. Means taking a photograph as his assistant, Courtney, monitors the scanner.  For more information about the project, visit their blog at!)


One thought on “Making Progress

  1. I have really enjoyed reading about your adventure at Ferry Farm. I would love to chat with you about my plantation that is very close by and is connected in a way to Ferry Farm. I know that you are very busy, but if you could email me at, I would appreciate it. I need to ask some very important questions before we start doing the landscaping for this planation. It was built in 1791 and the plantation was first sold in 1670. I can explain more later. Thank you Ashley!

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