Monday, October 12, 2015

Jefferson House

As our Archaeology Department intern wrote about before she left, we had begun a Phase I test of the gravel path to the west of the Jefferson House bathroom addition.  A series of test pits were excavated at 2.5 meter intervals, to determine whether the installation of a new handicap access ramp would impact archaeological resources.  
Jefferson House bathroom addition today
In September, this test was finalized.  The findings in the area impacted by the access ramp were consistent with the findings of the Archaeology Department’s summer of 2000 Jefferson House excavations.  The location, west of the original footprint of Jefferson House, is the lot once occupied by the 1809/Oliver House.  The eastern foundation wall of this house was uncovered during the 2000 excavations (see Pinello 2003 – Archaeological Site Investigations of the Jefferson and Oliver House Lots for more details).
Jefferson House backyard in 2000, before bathroom addition (photo taken facing east)
During Urban Renewal, the 1809/Oliver House was demolished.  House debris within the original footprint of the house was not recovered during the 2000 nor during the present excavations, indicating that the rubble was removed from the museum site. This is consistent with other investigations of houses demolished during Urban Renewal on the Strawbery Banke Museum grounds.  The backfill within the foundation contained stone, brick, and gravel, mixed with sand and soil.  Very few artifacts were recovered: several small shards of glass, plastic, and machine-cut nails. 
Jefferson House backyard c. 1950, after the demolition of the 1809 Oliver House
The access ramp should be an excellent replacement of the unreliable electronic lift, ensuring that all our visitors are able to enjoy the museum grounds!

Monday, October 5, 2015

A New Foundation for Little Yeaton

As the summer came to an end at Strawbery Banke, the Archaeology Department monitored construction efforts at Yeaton-Walsh as the c. 1800 foundation was dismantled, a new concrete base was poured, and the signature foundation stones replaced.

We took steps to protect the 18th century wooden structures related to James Marden's mastyard that we had uncovered, backfilling our excavation units in sterile sand, and  changing the shape of the concrete foundation footing on the northwest corner to leave what may be part of a wharf bulkhead intact (see photos below).

We still await the City of Portsmouth, who will be digging trenches to connect utilities, but the foundation and sill replacement has been completed on schedule!  Everyone enjoys a before and after comparison, so below are photos taken during field school in June and July, and new photos taken last week.

The front elevation of Yeaton-Walsh (photos taken facing north)

The backside of Yeaton-Walsh (photos taken facing south).  (Fisheye effect is a product of panorama tool.)