Thursday was a great, but extremely hot day at Ferry Farm! I began by helping Karen finish the sub-plowzone layer of her unit, which ended up revealing some interesting stains in the soil. These stains, or dark spots, usually mean that something existed there that disturbed the normal soil composition. Archaeologists at Ferry Farm have to be keenly aware of these changes because they could be evidence of a feature, which is exactly what we are looking for at this site. Karen outlined the stains by scoring the dirt with her trowel and then photographed the unit. We then proceeded to excavate the most distinct spot, which had been seen earlier and excavated separately as a shovel test pit (STP) that was dug during a prior excavation and then filled in. It reappeared at the sub-plowzone layer, but this time it was unclear whether it was an STP or a posthole from a structure that may have stood there. We began carefully digging through the soil and very quickly found a piece of plastic, which confirmed that it was an STP, as opposed to anything historical.
After lunch, Karen returned to the unit to continue working on the STP, but I was assigned to another unit with a volunteer named Tabitha. Our new unit had already been excavated down to the 20th Century disturbance layer and had a very deep STP in the southeast corner. We worked our way down to the base of the 20th Century layer, and found quite a few pieces of ceramic, a pipe stem and piece of a pipe bowl, some nails, and some glass. Tabitha had to leave a little early, so one of the interns, Andrew, came to help me level out the layer and screen the rest of our soil before the day was over. During our last round of screening, Andrew found a lead seal, which was very exciting! We were unable to see any sort of writing on it in the field, but some may appear when it is cleaned in the lab!
We closed up around four o’clock and headed home to some much needed air-conditioning. I won’t be back in the field for a week or so, but I did hear some very interesting news about the excavation yesterday. Apparently an 18th Century structure has been found on our site! It is located around the corner of units that Victoria and I were working on last Friday. I will post more about this exciting find as I learn more about it, and I will be returning to Ferry Farm as soon as possible to see for myself!