I also stayed at Hough House on the museum grounds, which enabled me to explore the city and neighboring towns like New Castle and Kittery, Maine.
I tried to take advantage of my time here to learn about Portsmouth's ever-changing, dynamic history. This included the historic house tours, haunted tours given by New England Curiosities, and various
archaeology lectures in the area. Along with my internship experience, these extra activities provided me with a richer sense of the area we were excavating in.
|Waterfront view of the Piscataqua River.|
|Mary Poppins in Prescott Park.|
The excavation near the Penhallow House yielded some interesting results and speculations by Alix and me. The cobblestone feature that was uncovered last year along Penhallow's northern foundation was found to extend to the east, made up of larger stones closer to the Red Shed. There is also a notable brick feature in the eastern units of our excavation block that we believe to be either a path to a former outbuilding, or perhaps the foundation for said outbuilding. Based on an 1878 Sanborn map and the number of agricultural artifacts found in the northern units, we believe the outbuilding was built as a shed that straddled the property line between Penhallow House and the neighboring house. As for the cobblestones themselves, we theorize that they may still be the fill for when part of Puddle Dock was filled in the late 1700s. After inviting the Portsmouth Public Works Department and consulting with other archaeologists, this assumption is the strongest- especially since the feature continues from the site excavated in 2016. Once further research is done, artifacts are catalogued, and maps are reviewed, a final analysis can be performed.
Here is a "before and after" view of our site this year. Last week, David Murray of Clear Eye Photo visited with his drone and took overhead shots of the site, which provide a perfect view of the cobblestone and brick feature.
|Penhallow House and the Red Shed. (Can you spot Alix, David and me?)|
After the field school ended, Alix and I continued to excavate in the northern units and found various bottles, agricultural equipment, buttons, leather, doll fragments, rusted metal, marbles, ceramic and English flint. During my last week we chose to dig under the cobblestones in order to find the sterile layer or marine clay layer that signified the beginning of human activity at Puddle Dock. Although we didn't have enough time to reach a sterile layer, we dug until a grey marine clay layer was uncovered - almost 4 feet under the ground! By the end of the week, we were crouched down in the small hole where it was very difficult to see our heads from the top.
|Excavated 1m x 50cm unit; 18th Century layer with English flint.|
This year's dig was a great learning experience for everyone involved, and I was lucky to have such a great city and team along the way.
Highlighted Artifacts:Over 13 boxes with thousands of artifacts were uncovered from the site, but I chose to highlight these select few because they were uncovered in the past couple of weeks.
|Porcelain doll hand from the 19th Century.|
|Chesebrough c.1887 Vaseline jar: Mouth-blown with a tooled lip. Trademarked in 1878 by New Jersey native Robert Chesebrough.|
|Drawer pull from the 19th Century layer.|
|Bones found in the 19th Century layer belong to mammals. Top - rib bone. Middle (from left to right)- Lumbar vertebrae, scapula, thoracic vertebrae, and illium (below). Bottom- cranium fragment, unidentified bone, mandible.|
|Indian Head penny from 1889.|
|Small doll torso found in the 18th Century layer.|
|Blade found in 19th Century layer. We believe this is an agricultural blade based on surrounding agricultural artifacts and the lack of a hilt.|
|Shovel head found in the 19th Century layer.|