Friday, July 9, 2010

Day of Visitors

I had intended to do a "Visitor of the Day" post, but we has so many wonderful visitors today that I just couldn't choose.

We began our day with a visit to the house of Hollis Brodrick, an eminent local antiquarian. The picture above shows many artifacts that were recovered when his back yard was excavated (a project worked on by our very own Lindsey Weeks). Some of the more interesting finds were a medal commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill, a 17th century counterfeit coin, and an unusual fragment of marbled clay pottery (see below).

We also got to see some highlights of his own collection, including a bell used to summon the militia during the Revolutionary War and a powder horn inscribed by an Eighteenth-Century soldier (see below).

Another highlight of the visit was that Hollis allowed each field school participant to take home a 17th century clay pipe - in the picture below Archaeologist Sheila Charles is holding hers.

So that was an exciting start to our day! In addition, we were joined today by Dr Rob Sanford, chair of the Enivronmental Science department at the University of Southern Maine, and Dr Nate Hamilton, Professor of Archaeology at USM, both of whom have worked with Hollis, Sheila and Lindsey in the past. Dr Hamilton talked about helping Hollis excavate in his backyard, and later (after minor technical difficulties) gave a presentation on the dig he has been conducting out at the Isle of Shoals. We were also joined by Sheila's son, Phillip, who was an excellent aid to our excavation efforts.

Through the course of this week we have managed to excavate 20-30cms in our units, uncovering many kinds of pottery fragments, buttons, nails and wood fragments as well as bricks and stones that may be part of the privy or another building foundation. We have also begun removing some of the bricks and stones that do not appear to be part of the foundation (after mapping and documenting carefully, of course!) which has uncovered part of an animal's hip bone and several very large ceramic pieces, which can be seen in the picture below.
Next week we plan to begin the lab work of washing and cataloging the artifacts. We also have several more presentations and excursions planned. And, of course, a lot more excavating to do!

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