Ella Johnson

Week 8

This week the Wednesday Lab spent our time in the laboratory cleaning, organizing, and photography artifacts. I worked on many of the artifacts that came from Trench 2 at the site. It was interesting to work through the diagnostic information from the items we found trying to get some answers to our questions of use and chronology. This included dating glass bottles and cans with research online to find the relative dates of the partying behavior at the quarry. A lot of the dates we were able to track down connect to the 1960s and 1970s. It may be possible to get a more specific date as we narrow down the research. I would also be interested in grouping items into spikes of activity at the site where big parties went down.

              Outside of the interesting date find there were many, many, many small, non-diagnostic shards of glass that needed to be cleaned and organized. With toothbrushes and some water, we cleaned many pieces. This was not the most interesting work, but it was nice to reveal all of the pieces we had pulled out of the ground. With some shards like tops and bottoms of bottles we could try and establish a minimum number of bottles left at the site.

Week 7

Wednesday lab sifting dirt from trench 2.
The cleaned cliff wall.

In Week 6 the Wednesday lab attempted to rap up the work both at the quarry site and in at the dike trench. I was in the group which stayed back at the quarry cleaned the rock wall that had been exposed by the Tuesday group. This involved moving quite a bit of dirt and rocks and brushing clean the rock faces, so the shapes of the quarrying were revealed. This work was quite physical and a bit uncomfortable in the sun. The cliff wall we revealed could give some insight into what was being quarried and how the work was done. The stratigraphy of the wall shows the smaller, and lose, more easily broken rocks at the top and the more stable bed rock stone. The bedrock extended away from the wall, forming steps and a platform where mining stopped. The excavation team in trench 2, reached bedrock in most of the trench and found much more glass, plastic, and rusted out metal. Their best find of the day was a bullet casing and a fishhook. Overall there is a bit of work that could still be done at this site in cleaning up and clearing out some areas but the brunt of the work is done. Unless there is a specific need the next labs could be devoted to staying in the classroom and documenting the finds from the site.

Week 6

This week while the rest of the class took off to the woods, I was lying in bed recovering from the side effects of the vaccine. This lab report will focus on the documentary record for the millpond dike instead of any field work. I used the Carleton archives and the research already conducted by the previous classes and published on the archaeology 246 blog.

The history of the dike is tied to the history of Waterford and the mill there. Built-in 1873 the mill was across the water from the dike, which was built to provide a more intense force of water for the mill. Multiple sources quote 1873 as the year the mill was constructed. The Indian Pathway Through the Carleton Arboretum by Paul Jensen and Charles Umbanhowar Jr. writes that the dike was built in conjunction with the mill and a dam across the river. They also write that “at the southern end, west side of the dike, a large flat area, once a hill quarried to construct the dike. It is a hill visible from the dike by its absence across the lower arboretum trail,” (Jensen 4). This seems to refer to our exact excavation site on the hillside. The supports the theory proposed in class, that the rocks quarried from our site were used to build up the dike. The authors provide no source for their information, however, so more research is required.

After its construction, the dike was used to maintain water for the mill until it stopped functioning. The dam broke in 1884 and was rebuilt and repaired. There seems to have been multiple bridges across the river at or near the mill. This includes a swinging bridge that is mentioned in the oral histories from 2019 and wooden bridges built by the college after it purchased the land in 1917. The dam seems to have be washed out at some point after 1920 and the mill fell into ruin. The dike has held up to the elements considerably better than the other features.

There is an opportunity for more research into the history of the dike through local historical societies. I don’t know if a search could turn up more than was found during the 2019 research on mill found.

Jensen, Paul, and Charles Umbanhowar. pp. 1–18, The Indian Pathway through the Carleton Arboretum, contentdm.carleton.edu/digital/collection/Arb/id/3162/rec/3.

Week 5

This week the Wednesday lab continued the survey and excavation work at the quarry site started by the Tuesday group. This included opening a new trench in the southwestern corner of the site, cleaning off the work wall, and location tagging with the DGPS system. The excavation pit was opened in the L10 site near the large pile of cans that were cataloged by the Tuesday group. The pit was 2 meters by 1 meter. Work began by marking the corners of the box and stringing up the sides. Then we started by clearing the group cover, which was mainly sticks, leaves, and roots. In this brush, we found some plastic and metal items as well as a lot of glass. I would guess that this debris related to the other drinking paraphernalia we found near the trench. Also, we found a lot of charred wood and charcoal along the northern edge of the box closer to the center of the can pile. Once the ground was cleared, we began to move dirt with shovels, trowels, and brushes. The dirt we removed was put into buckets before we sifted through it. After a little bit of work, we uncovered a mostly smooth and flat stone that ran along the southern side of the site. We worked this stone clear with a brush to establish its boundaries. On the eastern side, the stone dropped off, and then there was a sudden change in the quality of the dirt from the rich dark soil we had been working through before to a lighter colored sandier soil. Clearing around the rock pile was more difficult, as the stones were easy to move and fragile. In the sifted soil we found similar debris we had already found on the surface.

Week 4

In the Wednesday lab, we did a more in-depth survey of the quarry site that we identified in our week 2 walk. Beginning in the Anderson lab space we started to discuss what the work could look like and more about survey work in general. When we began to discuss locations for a detailed survey, there was some concern that the Tuesday group would have taken over the work in the quarry. These fears were assuaged, and we undertook the walk to the site.

Once at the site I helped Sam and Lucile put set up the DGPS system that we had lugged out. It took a bit of trial and error to get the system all set up and ready. We began in the SE corner of L10 and worked our way north. We then returned south down the E side of the K blocks. Then we followed the southern line and made our way to the SW corner of I10 before going north again. In the area dealing with the hill and foliage became more of a problem, making it unclear where the boundaries for different squares were. It seemed that some flags were positioned much further apart than others. Throughout this process, I kept notes on which flags we had hit while Sam and Lucile operated the machine. I am hopeful that the data will turn out to be valuable. After we finished with the grid system, we started to map the rock formations. This required more detailed data collection on every shape of the lower rock formation.

While the DGPS group did this work, other groups cleared and studied different squares and locations. We also added another square to the SE  side of the site, going a bit up onto the cliffside. The next steps for the site could include putting the DGPS data into a map to better track and understand the site topography. This data could give insights into the formation of the site. In class on Thursday when we looked at the more clear LiDAR map the site appeared as a clear cur out of the hillside. Hopefully, the DGPS data could give insights into the size and scale of the cutout.

Week 3

The Wednesday lab group met at the lab space in Anderson before heading out into the Arb. We stopped tilled field to the east of the baseball fields and north of the Tuesday group’s field. Starting in the south eastern corner we walked north to south in two teams, covering six plots of the field. The land had grown corn which had been tilled over, leaving behind many corn cobs and stalks. I was walking about 50 meters from the edge of the plot where I found numerous golf balls, some plastic, and a little bit of glass.

Towards the third plot, there was a large pile of logs and dirt that looked to have been hauled there. Near this place were a lot more plastic and even some metal waste. I did not see a big pattern in the origin of the plastics although a couple of pieces seemed to part of food packaging. There were also hundreds of small uniform pieces of glass near this pile concentrated to one 10 meters or so area. The uniformity of these pieces appeared to me that they had been processed in some way and not just the result of a broken bottle or piece of glass.

The golf balls were concentrated at the end of the second and third plots. This seems to relate to the location of the golf course to the field but exactly how the balls made it across the road and to the field remains a mystery. This experiment was good practice at field walking and gave me a better idea of how a survey is not an exhaustive search but an estimation of what kinds and number of finds could be waiting at a specific place.

Week 2

For an introduction to the Arb and Carleton’s archaeology program, the Wednesday lab group went for a walk with Nancy Braker and Alex. We began at the Arb office and then walked through some restored prairie while Nancy explained the origin of the Arb and the restoration work that began in the 1970s. We continued into the woods, heading down the Waterford Dike to the Cannon River. From there we could see the remains of the Waterford mill and Alex talked us through the work the archaeology class has done at this location. The possibility of the dike as a site of interest was also suggested. Further understanding the labor and techniques that went into the development of the dike could prove interesting. We returned on the dike and stomped through the woods to a small cliff wall that Nancy had recently found. We discussed the possible uses of this space in the past and looked at the trash left there. This site could open research into any mining which took place in the Northfield area or the use of local stones in a nearby construction. Our walk continued to the edge of the arb and the old Waterford bridge. We turned around and headed back towards campus. Stopping briefly at the site of the Women’s League Cabin, we talked about the work done there in the past. After crossing into the upper arb, we saw the field where some survey work had been done before stopping at the site of the Pine Hill Village. These were opportunities to discuss the kind of work we may do in this class. Throughout our walk, Nancy gave us insights into the ecology of the arb and the history of maintenance done by the college. Alex and Sam were able to give more details about the work of the archaeology department and the work that we could be doing in the future. Understanding these histories will help us in deciding what areas could have archaeological interest for our own fieldwork.