Today was our last full day in the field, and I couldn’t think of a better day to wrap up my experience here! Our group was much smaller than usual because the students from USF were all on a field trip, leaving only the VCU students, the interns, and our supervisors on the field. We were all prepared for an incredibly long and hot day, as it was almost as hot at 8 o’clock this morning as it was yesterday afternoon. With that in mind, I returned to my unit with my friend Wells, who was my digging partner for the day since Jason was with the USF group. The two of us started off by leveling out the 20th century disturbance layer, which yielded a surprising number of artifacts, including the bottom of what was most likely a medicine bottle, some ceramics, and even some pipe stems. Once we finished that we were ready to start in on our plowzone, which is always the best part! We stopped quite a few times for water breaks, and about an hour before lunch Dr. Means came to the site and surprised us all with some amazing sherbet popsicles!
During lunch we all gathered under the shade of a tree and ate together, which was very nice and relaxing. A cool breeze swept in as we all got back to work, making the brutal heat a little less harsh. Wells and I started digging into the plowzone right away and immediately started recovering artifacts. We found quite a few large pieces of ceramic, nails, some pipe stems, and a lot of glass. We also had a few special finds, such as a piece of Washington-era cauliflower ware ceramic, two copper-alloy buttons, and an exhausted English gun flint.
Dave Muraca, the director of archaeology at Ferry Farm, came out to the field and helped us screen our soil in the afternoon, then told us a bit about what was happening with the site and what we have been finding. He explained that the southern part of the excavation area has been yielding a lot of artifacts that suggest it was an activity area, the center part is showing indications of a feature that may be surfacing, and the far northern portion does not appear to hold much at all. He hopes that as the excavation continues this summer we will find better signs of the buildings we are looking for, but our progress is good so far. It was great to receive an official update about the data we have been gathering over the course of the past five weeks, and I was proud to know that I was a part of that data gathering process.
By the end of the day we managed to get through most of the plowzone, but not all of it. Tomorrow I have a test on ceramics in the morning, and will be digging for the rest of the day. Hopefully I will be able to get through the plowzone, and maybe even the sub-plowzone in that time, as it is my last day as a field student! I will be returning as a volunteer for the rest of the summer though, so I am looking forward to that. Today was a very light and fun day, and I really enjoyed it a lot. It was the perfect way to bring my last week here to a close!
(A sample of our finds from the plowzone today- On the left are some ceramics, including the cauliflower ware at the bottom. On the top right there are two buttons, and on the bottom right is an English gun flint.)