Thursday, July 7, 2016

Field School Session 2 Update

The second session of field school is wrapping up so here is an update on the things we have accomplished, as well as the most recent theories about the site!

We started the third week of field school by digging through the sandy/clay layer. We discovered that the layer was more mottled and mixed up, similar to a patchwork quilt, rather than a straight layer of sand with a layer of clay underneath. 

Digging through the mottled sandy clay layer

We dug through this layer until we hit an unexpected layer of rocks! 

The emergence of the rock layer

We weren't sure if this layer of rock was a continuation of the builders' trench, but the rocks are more rounded, similar to river rocks, than the larger and sharper-edged rocks of the foundation. They also go to the edge of the northern wall of the trench which is probably larger than the builders' trench would have been.

Catcat, the neighborhood cat

We even had a visit from the neighborhood cat, whose nametag says Catcat. She has been visiting us for a few weeks on the other side of the fence, but this field school is much smaller than the first session so there aren't enough people to work on both sides of the fence.

The uncovered cobblestones

After removing all of the mottled sandy/clay layer we photographed the cobblestone layer and talked more about what it could be. There is a layer of smaller rocks that are very orderly along the northern edge and a second layer of larger, more loosely placed rocks on top of them. It is possible that this upper layer exists because the stones were displaced when the foundation was built. 

Most people who see the stones for the first time think of a road, but there was never a road according to the historic maps. One theory that has persisted throughout the excavation of the stones is that the stones were used to fill in some of the tidal inlet to make more usable land for the neighborhood. Several of the historic maps show a more straight, unnatural looking part of the tidal inlet near Washington Street and it is possible that the tidal inlet was shaped to suit the needs of the neighborhood. Another theory is that these stones were used to provide drainage to the area, but more research needs to be done to figure out what is under the stones. We ended the day with mapping the stones before we remove a section near the shell midden to understand more about the cobblestone layer.

Do you have any ideas on what these cobblestones were used for? Stay tuned for an update after Ana and Alix continue the excavation after the field school ends tomorrow!

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