Week 5 (Tuesday Lab)

Waterford Mill Site – Gridded Collection, Excavation, and Mapping

This week at the Waterford Mill site, the Tuesday lab split up into three groups in order to continue the archaeological work at the mill: two groups did gridded collection of a few of the survey units, 2 other groups did small excavation trenches around the site area, and one other group did mapping in the site. As this was our first day doing actual excavation, there was a bit of a slow start and a learning curve for all of us to get comfortable with our jobs, but having had this day to get a little experience with the somewhat hectic atmosphere at the site will be very helpful continuing forward with the excavation in future weeks.

     Two teams of three people did a gridded collection in the survey area: Claire, Jaylen, and Ilan; and Matthew, Aubrey, and Wendy. Each group picked up where last week’s Wednesday lab had left off in the survey site. One group surveyed survey units F12 and F13, while the other group surveyed units G11 and G12, respectively (see diagram below). Each group spent 10 minutes surveying the area and pointing out finds, then 5 minutes bagging the notable finds. Two people surveyed while one person recorded on the Survey Unit forms. The group surveying F12 and F13 found 3 metal beer cans, crushed and somewhat modern, as well as a bunch of glass shards and plastic bits. These were found all in unit F12, just inside the mill wall. This collection group had to re-orient unit F13 since it was askew, but once that had been done, they found four strips of rusted sheet metal (too large to bag) and a chip bag (too contemporary to bag). The other collection crew found more cans and some metal wire, as well as some glass bottles that still had writing on them.

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A schematic diagram of the survey units at the Waterford Mill Site.

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A piece of sheet metal that one of the excavation teams (Claire, Ilan, and Jaylen) found in survey unit F13.

     Two teams started to excavate strategically picked areas around the site. The first team (Ali, Seth, and Judi) excavated next to a trash pit. They started the excavation by laying out a 1×1 meter grid using measuring tape and stakes, and then marked the square with string (picture of the trench below). The first step was to clear the surface of vegetation and rocks, as well as any artifacts that were lying directly on the surface. These artifacts were collected, sorted by type, and then bagged; they included metal, ceramic, and glass items. After this surface work, the team continued to shovel shave the area by about an inch, where they found more artifacts similar to the ones described above. Due to time constraints, this is as far as the first team got.

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The first team’s excavation trench.

     The second team (Julianne, Tanya, and Anya) chose to excavate an area next to the wall of the lower structure. Like the first team, they set up a 1×1 meter grid using the same methods, and marked it off with string (picture below). Vegetation and rocks also had to be removed from the surface, but there were no artifacts to be collected. The team began to shovel shave the surface, where they found numerous pellets from an airsoft gun. Some of these were collected and bagged. However, no other artifacts of interest were found. Again, due to time constraints, this is as far as the second team got.

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The second team’s excavation trench.

   The remaining members of the lab section participated in mapping. Brendan and Elise worked together to do DGPS mapping of the area so that the subsequent lab group would be able to translate the labels on the DGPS mapping readings from our group. The mapping groups also took down the locations of our individual trenches that were dug, and later on will hopefully incorporate the information on what sorts of finds were dug up and where.

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Google Earth representation of the Waterford Mill Site, with the Tuesday group lab mapping points in white and the Wednesday group mapping points in blue.

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DGPS points from Tuesday lab; the red circle represents the first group’s trench (trench 1), the yellow circle represents the second group’s trench (trench 2), and the cyan lines represent the area covered by the gridded survey team.

     With the excavation started and the gridded survey on its way, we are making progress in uncovering the Waterford Mill. Looking to future labs, we hope to continue finding artifacts of interest as well as analyzing the entire area as a whole, applying what we learn in class to the field work.

 


Week 4 (Tuesday Lab)

Waterford Mill Site – Gridding, Clearing, and Mapping

During lab in the fourth week of ARCN 246, the Tuesday section arrived at the Waterford Mill site and began to clear the area, put down some grids, and do some mapping.  We had had an introduction to much of this process in class, talking about what we would do when we arrived and what we could expect out of the process. Getting an idea of how these processes work in the field and how we should start to go about them was really helpful, and prepared us to take it on once we reached our own site.  

Once at the site, we divided up into three rough teams: clearing, gridding, and mapping.  Each team were assigned specific instructions and began to work to complete their side of the day’s work.  The mapping team were in-charge of site documentation and collecting coordinates points, which they did using a GPS device and recording different coordinate points, or by filling out feature forms and sketching different features.  They worked in teams of 1-2 and moved around different areas of the site. Some mapped the main area and the walls that extended into the mud and river. Others went further to the northeast and found a midden and fire pit, exploring an area not easily seen from the main site.  The last group went in the opposite direction past the main site and found a midden with lots of interesting artifacts already visible.

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Julianne, Alex, and Brendan look at a feature form while Elise takes coordinates in the back

The gridding team marked the sites and took bearings.  The four of them worked together to make sure the lines stayed on course, work the tape measure through the brambles or hand it up walls, and mark every five meters with a flag.  They began with an x-axis of 20 meters running along the lower wall at a bearing of 70° northeast, and staking down flags every 5 meters along this length as well. They also began to create y-axis grid lines, which extended 15 meters at each 5 meter point on the x-axis at a bearing of 340° northwest.  They also staked flags every 5 meters along the y-axis lines, and completed three full lines during their time. This will provide a guideline for future survey and documentation work, and was completed by the Wednesday group, although the grid will probably be extended even further to either side.

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Extending the tape measure through the brambles and trees to create the grid.

The clearing crew worked primarily in the main walled area near the trail, hauling out logs, bushes, and general natural debris that was preventing easy access to the site.  While this was treacherous at times, and no easy work, the team managed to clear a large portion of the site during the time we were there. They also often got the first look at any artifacts on the surface and at the different features and walls present in the area.

Ilan and Matthew discuss the best way to clear the area, and the pile of slash collected by the end of the day (photos courtesy of Aubrey)

The feature forms ended up giving us a rough idea of the different large features in the area. Various walls, middens, and smaller artifacts were recorded that give us a preliminary look at what we will find in the area and the different sites of interest.  The artifacts looked to range in age from this year to possibly several decades old, although it is hard to tell without close examination. Some examples of artifacts found include glass bottles, metal buckets, pottery, and keys. There was also a fire pit found, so there may be some interesting artifacts in the area as it would have been used fairly often.  

Overall, it was a very productive day, and with the work that the Wednesday group did, we should be in pretty good shape to move on to more surveying and excavation next week.  We got a chance to really put what we’ve talked about in class into practice, and it was a really interesting look at where we will be working for the next few weeks. Getting to do some practical application and explore some different facets of archaeology was interesting for all of us, and gave us some things to think about as we plan our next steps.

Maps

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The site was divided into a coordinate plane with x and y axis. The lower and upper wall represent the site of the mill and the current ruins of the wall. The other yellow quadrants around the walls are sites that was designated for other groups to survey.

Artifacts  

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Week 3 (Tuesday Lab)

By Ilan and Aubrey

 

Our third Tuesday of ARCN 246 was largely dedicated to learning about and practicing the various types of archaeological surveys. In class, we discussed the benefits and limits of Google Maps and its street view feature as an archaeological survey tool. We further learned about various innovations in remote sensing technologies and techniques, including AIRSAR and the revolutionary role of LiDAR scanning on jungle archaeology in particular. This lesson was supplemented by guest speaker Neil Slifka, who discussed how these technologies have assisted in his job as Area Resource Specialist for the Minnesota state parks and historical sites. Our class ended with a brief summary of the different survey types, with special attention paid to fieldwalking techniques, as that would constitute the bulk of our lab period.

 

The lab itself began in the classroom, where we were introduced to some of the equipment that we would be expected to use in the field (Fig. 1). These included survey forms, compassess, and sample bags. We also selected the area that we planned to survey, a relatively flat grassy area in the Upper Arboretum that would be a good spot for beginners to conduct their first field survey. Unfortunately, when we arrived the Arb crew was in the middle of a controlled burn there, so we instead traveled to the second location marked for the lab: a section of the Lower Arb that consisted of a similar grassy space and a more densely forested gully, the two areas separated from one another by a trail.

 

Upon arriving at our new site, the lab group split into two teams, one for each side of the trail. We walked along 10 meters of a measuring tape, counting how many steps it took to go from one end to the other. By doing so, we learned how to measure distance with our steps, a skill important to maintaining equal distance from other field walkers while surveying. We also learned how to take our bearing using our cell phones as more readily available alternatives to traditional compasses.

 

Team 1 was tasked with surveying the “cleaner” side of the trail, which was characterized by low shrubbery and a relatively flat topography. Six group members assumed roles as surveyors, pacing themselves out five meters from one another, using the step counts we had established by walking along the measuring tape (Fig. 2). The two team members at farthest left and farthest right marked the two corners with hot pink fly paper, and set our bearing for 250°, in order to ensure parallel orientation. The final two members, who weren’t actively surveying, acted as team leader (i.e. recorded the finds, sketched the survey units in relation to one another, and established which new plots to survey) and mapper (took photos of the hot pink flags in order to establish geographical coordinates) (Fig. 3). Our team moved through three survey units in the half hour we had! We flagged the corners of each unit to produce the surveyed area seen below (Group 1’s units are named as T1).

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Map of survey units via Google Earth.

Despite our wide breadth, we found no evidence of material culture— not one thing. Our group started to feel a little demoralized in the absence of the thrill of discovery, but, luckily, Team 2 struck gold. Team 1 still learned a great deal about the survey process, and we were importantly reminded that archaeology is as much about the process as the end results.

 

In contrast to Team 1, Team 2 only completed a single survey unit, identified as T2-01 (seen on the map above)— but found a much larger record of material culture. We set our bearing as 270° and set about lining up to begin the survey, marking the corners of the survey unit with pink tape as Team 1 had. It was nearly impossible to line up evenly on the uneven and obstacle-ridden ground, so we used the tape measure to space ourselves along the line (Fig. 4). Though it was clear that this would be a difficult unit to survey, it was also evident that it would bring rich rewards— the area was strewn with artifacts, largely consisting of heavily rusted tin cans, glass fragments, and shards of ceramic material. One team member reported counting metal and glass objects in their hundreds. Though in the end we were only able to complete a single survey unit, we collected 29 artifacts (Fig. 5) and counted several hundred others. The rich array of discoveries made in this challenging area not only gave us a better understanding of the types of locations where people dispose of their garbage, but also served as a reminder that formidable sites are often worth the effort spent investigating them.

 

In total, the most commonly observed materials were glass, metal, and ceramic. The greatest concentration of objects was within the second transect from the road, suggesting that they were deposited from the trail, likely tossed towards the woods in order to keep the path clear. Metal objects, including old cans, a sheet of wire mesh, and pieces of rain gutter, were found by all five surveyors. This could be due to several things. First, it is possible that they were thrown further from the road initially. Another possibility is that those objects, either due to being lighter or being deposited earlier than the other materials, have been further moved from their original location. If this were the case, however, it is likely that plastic objects would have also been found across the transects, rather than just in the first one.

 

On the whole, this lab was informative to both groups, giving us a taste of real fieldwork after our readings and discussions about it. We learned that engaging in the process of surveying is sometimes challenging but well worth the rewards, even if that reward is experience alone. We also had a lot of fun, and are looking forward to applying what we have learned to our main project for this class.

 

PHOTOS and DOCUMENTS

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Fig. 1: Alex discussing some of the materials for Tuesday lab, before we left for the field.

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Fig. 2: Team 1 pacing out and establishing our survey line!

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Fig. 3: Jaylin and Aaron flagging survey unit corners and taking photos in order to save the GPS coordinates.

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Fig. 4: Julianne using the measuring tape for accurate spacing.

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Fig. 5: Wendy with some finds!

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Fig. 6: Team 1 survey record sheet.

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Fig. 7: Team 2 survey record sheet.

 


Week 2 (Tuesday Lab)

On Tuesday April 9th, the class went over logistics for the field trip, weekly summaries and fieldwork journals as well as material culture and garbology information during the regular class period. During this time, we discussed some of the surprising insights we found when examining our own waste, and what the changing nature of American trash disposal will mean for future archaeological finds.

Midway through the class period, we visited the Carleton archives on the first floor of the Gould Library, where we met Nat Wilson, the digital archivist at Carleton. Nat Wilson presented information about archives and research techniques and encouraged us to look through materials relating to the Northfield Women’s League, the subject of a previous Archaeological Methods class project in the 2015 field season. We were able to examine photographs and documents taken at the Woman’s League Cabin, and learned some strategies to identify and analyze these documents, and key questions we should always be asking ourselves when interacting with historical documents: what does the person who produced these materials want to show, and what should we be looking for?

During the lab period, the Tuesday Lab group rode over to the Rice County Historical Society in Faribault. We met with Susan Garwood, the executive director of the Historical Society, to discuss some of the current collections. She started the presentation by referencing a map of the surrounding Faribault area to talk about the local geological and environmental history. She gave detailed explanations of how the glacial activity, and the stagnant nature of many of the ice shelves during the period, shaped the geology of Rice County by forming a large number of lakes in the region, a defining feature of Minnesotan geography.

Both lakes and rivers are important features for understanding the history of human habitations in Southern Minnesota. Susan explained how lakes were the preferred places of habitation due to the often violent nature of larger rivers. This information is corroborated by the placement known archaeological sites in the region, the vast majority of which are located around a cluster of large lakes in Southwestern Rice County. However, the presence of materials may have been significantly impacted by the environmental factors, such as river flooding.

One notable piece of Faribault’s early history was the role Alexander Faribault played in aiding the local Wahpekute population. He sheltered around 200 Dakota people on his land during and after the Dakota War of 1862, a decision he made in part due to his family history in the fur trapping business. This community continued to play a large role in the shaping of Faribault’s history, as some of the few Dakota people in Minnesota who were not forced out of their ancestral lands by white settlers.

Susan also discussed with us some of the peculiarities of dealing with collections and material sources found by local(and often amateur) archaeologists. One more notable example of this are the bison discoveries found in Eastern Rice County– a region that, up until very recently, nobody thought bison had ever populated. However, donated  bison bones revealed six skeletons located near a river. When an archaeological team made it to the site later, they unearthed many more bones, all of which dated back thousands of years. None of the bones found displayed evidence of human activity, so it is unclear if the local peoples of the time hunted the bison or not. This find has exciting implications for the field of Minnesotan Prehistory, and further investigations are underway.

For the rest of the visit, our group was able to tour the Historical Society individually. Near the end of our stay, Susan pulled out boxes of historical documents to show us, including from the last hundred years, and we listened as she explained some of the intersection between written and material culture when documenting the history of a local area. One of the major takeaways we left with was the importance of saving things, and donating old documents and objects to local history centers whenever possible– you never know when your box of old newspapers or bison femurs could be the key to the next major discovery!

 

 


Week 10 Summary

Tuesday was our last archaeology class, and with finals fast approaching, everyone was busy putting the finishing touches on their final projects. Before breaking into our project groups, we discussed how to store our Pine Hill finds as a class. Once we had established how to store the artifacts (carefully put away in labeled plastic containers to be kept in Alex’s office), we broke into our groups to work on our final projects.

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Later in the class period, we reconvened as a class to figure out how  to close up shop. We broke into different groups, including general storage (tasked with putting away equipment and artifacts), site care (tasked with backfilling the trenches and cleaning up our survey grid), and information (tasked with organizing reports and paper records). The cleanup went surprisingly fast, and by the time we were done, the Arb Office looked like it had during week one. It was quite the feat.

Alex ordered us Domino’s pizza to celebrate the end of term. Everyone rejoiced over the progress we had made on our research of Pine Hill. It’s safe to say that we’re all proud of the work we’ve done this term, and that we’ve gotten a real taste of what it’s like to be  archaeologists.

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Our conservation plan resulting from our conversation on curation and artifact storage

Our Curation Plan: After reading a roundtable on conservation in an archaeology journal (Kersel et. al 2015), we reflected on our current storage situation. Like examples brought to bear in the roundtable, we too were faced with the issue of finding space to store these artifacts and storing them in a way that ensures their preservation for future classes to examine. One solution proposed in the roundtable and in our discussion was to return some artifacts, such as the chunks of asphalt and concrete, to the site to ease space constraints. The point was raised, however, that reburying these finds would hinder the work of future classes if they chose to continue working on Pine Hill Village. For this reason, as well as the possibility of a library exhibition featuring our artifacts in the future, we decided to keep all artifacts. It was additionally helpful that we remembered that the construction of the new science commons with an archaeology will easily accommodate our finds from this project as well as future ones. 

Several steps needed to be taken before the artifacts could be stored though. Firstly, we needed to double check that all artifacts had been documented and sorted correctly by context to minimize inconveniences for future investigators. To address these needs, Nicole Connell and others spent the last part of the period proofreading the master spreadsheet of all of our collected artifacts and making sure the shared class google drive folder. Only then could each artifact be packed in its plastic bag and carefully placed, so as to ensure its continued preservation, in their respective plastic storage tub along with the original excavation survey sheet on which it was first documented. 

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(from left to right) Clarissa Smith, Randa Larsen, and Jack Coyne working on backfilling trenches

Site Care: While we as archaeologists always carry an ethical obligation to make our projects environmentally sustainable, we’re especially obligated to care for the Pine Hill Village site as it is part of an arboretum. In the weeks since we stopped excavating, most of our work site became overgrown with dense foliage. It was, however, plainly apparent where our excavation scarred the land. To correct this, we backfilled all of our trenches from the nearby dirt piles and removed all traces of our grid survey. Trench 2 was relatively simple since it was so shallow, but trench 1 and 3 were deep enough that they required the backfilled soil to be tamped down to slow erosion. Additionally, before the backfilling began, we placed a piece of plastic at the bottom of trenches 1 and 2 so that future excavators may know precisely where our excavation ended.  

 


Week 9 Summary

This week’s Archaeology lab centered on Community Archaeology Day, led by students focusing on outreach for their final project. The outreach group invited members of the Carleton and greater Northfield communities to visit the site of our fieldwork and our classroom to learn more about our study of Pine Hill Village.

Each group took time to speak with community members about their respective projects, with visitors as diverse as Northfield locals to Carleton faculty and staff, including Dean of the College Beverly Nagel. Some of the Community Archaeology Day visitors made the trek to the Pine Hill Village site despite rainy weather, others remained in the classroom.

In the field––or, right behind Goodhue Hall––several students set up a station next to the class’s primary excavation trench. Students shared their excavation experiences and findings with Community Archaeology Day visitors, highlighting each of the trenches, and other sites of interest. Professor Alex Knodell helped several students put up a tarp to shield the Pine Hill Village site from the rain, under which they displayed on a table several photos from the site, including the building plan and historical aerial photographs. Students also removed protective tarps from the other trenches, which they also showed the visitors.

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Eric Biddulph-West taking photos of Trench 1 for his photogrammetry-oriented final project.

Those outside were joined by the only two students doing field work, Joey Castaneda and Eric Biddulph-West, who were working on their final project. Joey and Eric are making models of the site using a modern photo stitching technique called Photogrammetry. They took multiple photos of each of the trenches which will be uploaded and collated through a computer program to create interactive 3D models of the trenches to share with the general public, and despite the rain and cold could not be deterred.

 

Nevertheless, much of the Community Archaeology Day activity took place indoors due to the rainy weather. Students indoors worked in several groups split by research interest, including an oral history group and two artifact analysis groups. Of the two artifact analysis groups, one focused on cataloguing, inspecting, and interpreting artifacts, while the other worked with ArcGIS software to map the findings.

While each respective group had previously submitted projections of what their final projects would feasibly look like, as well as the work entailed, the work conducted in class allowed groups to develop a better sense of what could actually be accomplished within the allotted timeframe. Professor Knodell fortunately devoted the entirety of class time on Thursday to final project work and checked in to see where we were and how he could be of help.

Spotlight on Oral History Group: This particular group initially sought to conduct between 10-12 interviews with alumni who lived in Pine Hill Village during their time at the College. After reaching out to potential interviewees via email and phone call, however, and receiving no response, the group decided to modify their project by favoring more in-depth interviews with a handful of Carleton people who had some connection to the Pine Hill Village era, whether they attended the College at the time of its existence or were descendants of its residents. In addition, the oral historians published on the class website rough drafts of content that they plan to polish and submit for their final project.

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Oral historians Sarah Lieberman (left), Maya Kassahun (center), and JP Beaty (right) working in class on Thursday.

As we head into the final week of the term, it is interesting to witness the diverse, interdisciplinary methods that our class is using to blend the physical aspects of our work this term with the humanistic aspect of archaeology: the formulation of narratives behind excavated artifacts. It is looking like our final projects will be thought-provoking, relatable to community members on and off campus, and above all, accessible. Recent class discussions and assigned readings have focused on the importance of making archaeological fieldwork understandable to those outside academia. In the end, we will have succeeded if our audience understands our signs, maps, models, artifact analyses, interviews, and historiography.

 


Weekly Summaries

This page collects the weekly blog posts written by students over the course of fieldwork during the 2019, 2017, and 2015 field seasons.

Posts appears in descending chronological order, with the most recent post appearing at the top of the page.


2019 Field Season (Tuesday Lab)

2019 Field Season (Wednesday Lab)

2017 Field Season (Pine Hill Village)

2015 Field Season (Women’s League Cabin)

Week 8 Summary

This week during lab we moved out of the field and back into the classroom and began to examine the artifacts that we have collected over the past several weeks. First, we divided into groups to cover materials from each of our major areas of focus: field survey, grid survey, shovel test pits, and excavation trenches. It was important to ensure that there was at least one person from the project group focusing on artifacts and material history in each group. From there, we chose our groups, with two groups concentrating on grid survey and one group for each of the other areas.

This is the beginning of the recording stage. We would need to identify all of our materials in a Google document including information on their type, quantity, location, and lot. We created folders for each location (trench, STP, grid survey, and field survey) within which we made a sheet formatted for us to record each and every artifact found. We entered each item into the document, ordering them numerically and alphabetically and ensuring that bags remained correctly labeled. Each group made a detailed catalog of each and every artifact that was found and recorded the collection unit, lot, material, quantity, typology, use and function as well as a description of each piece of artifact.

Next, it was time to get a closer look at our materials. Groups opened up their bags to identify the artifacts and begin researching materials. Our goal was to learn what we could about our finds. Several items needed to be cleaned and dried to be clearly seen. These we removed from bags, washed off, and placed on trays. We created scales and labels and photographed each item for our records.

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When we had finished the recording process, some groups began researching their items. For example, the excavation group put together pieces of glass that they found in Trench 1, context 3 and it turned out to be some form of a glass serving tray. The group researched what type of glass that might be to try and figure out what the tray was and did not find out much about it but the research is underway. Different types of building materials that include many different types of brick were found, along with blocks of asphalt. Other groups also researched different types of building materials that they found, pieces of glass, bones and a lot of other types of discoveries and findings. It is safe to say that by the end of the week, the recording process was complete for the most part and groups are now in the research and analysis stage of recording and recovering meaning from the artifacts and materials found.

 


Week 7 Summary

This week, we continued fieldwork on the Pine Hill Village site. The class was separated into groups that were focused on: excavation of trenches, shovel test pits, mapping, and survey check. Before class, we assigned people to the various tasks. 

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We had three groups doing excavation this week. Trench 1 and 2 continued at the fire hydrant and rubble pile.

Trench 3 was added at the site of a shovel test pit from last week. Students discovered concrete when they were digging. This feature was the focus of Trench 3. The group at Trench 3 created a 1×1 meter grid and began by clearing vegetation and sifting dirt. After realizing there was still a lot of plants and roots, the group focused on expanding the trench downward as much as possible and then began sifting more. They found asphalt, glass, a rusted nail, a piece of chalk, and a yellow marble. The group also exposed the feature, which they concluded was a concrete post hole. At the end of the day, the group had dug about 1.5 feet down.

At Trench 1, the group continued deepened the trench by several inches. The group found pieces of thick glass and an old-fashioned bottle opener, as well as glass shards which seem to be from alcohol containers. They uncovered an additional flagstone in the northeast corner of the trench and exposed the previous ones more. The group reached a depth of 7 inches. Group members seem excited about the findings and are looking forward to more carefully analyzing the many artifacts that they have found over the past few weeks.

At Trench 2, the group focused on the southern side of the trench, which included the rubble pile. The group was able to deepen the trench by several inches. They uncovered additional pieces of pottery and wire, asphalt and concrete, and glass shards. Near the end of the day the soil began to have lighter, clay-like sections. This most likely a new context, which was uncovered in the shovel test pits. Some group members focused on digging in the trench, while others focused on sifting dirt. The group dug about 6 inches deep, by the end of the day.

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There were 8 new shovel test pits inside the survey grid this week. Groups dug holes about the length of a shovel and about a foot wide.The STPs were in the middle of the survey units to see if there was anything else to be discovered, besides just in the three excavation sites. Some groups found concrete, brick, and building material. In shovel test pit #9, a large chunk of concrete was found within the hole, but the group was unable to uncover the rest of it. It was pretty wide and tall and could potentially be from foundation of the Pine Hill Village or from spillover of concrete during that time when construction was taking place. There were also old rusty nails, glass, and ceramic found in the same STP. This would be a good place to start another full excavation site, but due to time constraints of the class, a STP will have to do for now. Pieces of concrete and brick were also found in shovel test pit #11. The piece of brick had text on it that the group wants to hopefully decipher during the next lab. It is highly possibly that all of these artifacts could be from Pine Hill Village since they were found a few inches deep into the STP. Groups are looking forward to further examining these materials to discover more information about the site. The STPs seemed to be very successful since many groups were able to find interesting artifacts that could lead to greater insight about Pine Hill Village.

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Most of the survey grid had already been mapped so there was not as much to map this week. The mapping group, which consisted of 3 students, mapped the points of the many shovel test pits and trench 1 on the GIS computer. Students learned how to handle and use the GIS to get points that were within centimeters of accuracy. They placed the GIS computer in four sides of each STP to get those points and then placed the mapping system inside the hole to plot that point. This was also to map the length of the hole and the high-tech GIS made all of the points very accurate. This group also mapped the area of trench 1, consisting of its 2 contexts and the cobblestone path found within the site.

In addition, two students double checked all the survey unit forms to ensure all the information was correct. After clarifying handwriting and adding a few notes about the size of units, all the survey unit forms were in order.

Below is a photo detailing where new shovel test pits are, as well as the new excavation site at Trench 3 and the continued excavation at Trench 1. No new points were taken at Trench 2.

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Week 6 Summary

 

Two groups set out to continue the excavation work begun last week. Both teams made a great deal of progress, deepening the trenches by several inches, collecting a variety of significant artifacts, and discovering a hidden feature which appears to date from the area of study. The excavators began the work day using the practices of shovel shaving, which entails removing a single layer of earth by skimming a shovel over the surface of a trench, and troweling, which follows a similar practice with a smaller implement allowing for more detailed work. Dirt removed from the trenches was transferred to buckets and carefully sifted to ensure no artifacts were overlooked during the initial dig.

 

Trench Two, which covers a portion of the rubble heap and the area next to it, collected a variety of building materials in keeping with what is visible in the heap itself. Of particular interest were several bricks, small shards of glass and ceramic, and a long wire. All of these discoveries continue to point to this spot as a area of disposal for materials after Pine Hill Village’s dismantling. At Trench One, which entails the area surrounding the fire hydrant, there were several unexpected uncoverings. About two inches from the original surface, we found the first of many large glass pieces.

The glass is quite thick, and much of it has a decorated edge which may help in future reconstruction. At this time, it appears that these various shards come from either a single or a set of window panes; we know that Pine Hill Village houses had arctic glass windows. We are very much looking forward to studying these artifacts more closely!

 

In another context of the trench, the area to the south of the pipes which divide the trench in two halves,

the team found an unexpected feature:  a section of an apparent flagstone path.

Set about three inches below the surface of the ground, the path appears to connect one area of the Village to the main asphalt road which has been in evidence in both our survey and excavations. Further digging in the northern context unveiled  another flagstone of the some composition and leading in the same direction. We conclude from this that extending the trench in line with the three uncovered features would find similar flagstones and may help further our understanding of the exact placement and layout of the Village.

 

As for completing the survey universe, a small group of us added the last row on the most southwest portion. When examining where to put our points, a few of the points from the last classes were slightly off which we were tasked to fixing. From true north, we had to measure 315 degrees in order to orient the length of a survey grid; in order to orient the width, we measured 225 degrees. So, doing that for the last row, we found ourselves deep on the side of the hill behind Goodhue in between the pines that perhaps born the name of Pine Hill Village. Not new to us, the 100 meter row was marked with tape every 10 meters. These 10×10 squares were the last 10 grid squares that were to be surveyed.

 

As we put down that last row, the surveyors began to finish the survey and take down the string that had marked the survey universe. This deconstruction indicates that our archaeological work is coming to a close and that we can now move onwards in analyzing what we have found.

 

Three groups of two people were assigned to do test shovel pits. These test shovel pits are relatively small holes that are a couple feet deep. Alex had designated 3 original spots that when overlayed onto the map of Pine Hill Village were 3 points in which there may have once been a building or patio. They were mostly in the center of survey squares on the northwest portion of the survey universe. One pair discovered an amalgamation of rocks surrounded by what seemed to be rotting wood at 10-12 inches deep — this may be the foundation of a building. Next week, we will be digging deeper and around the rock in order to see what exactly it may be. Additionally, another pair found what seemed to be a tile in their test pit. We hope to dig more holes and see what else we can find.

 

An image of the amalgamation of rocks found.

 

The final groups finished the survey grid and continued mapping the site.

Finishing the survey grid involved extending down one more row down the hill. After dealing with some difficulties stemming from the steep hill, the grid was completed. Survey teams examined each of the new squares finding a variety of trash, as well as some noteable older artifacts including several bricks that appear similar to the bricks recovered from the rubble heap dig. The most common kinds of trash were glass fragments from broken bottles, plastic wrappers, and a continuing puzzling distribution of golf balls. The finds support the idea that this area has been recreation focused in more ways than one. We have also seen a higher density of artifacts in the least manicured areas of the site, noteable the hill and a survey unit that appears to have avoided the landscaping associated with units closer to the lacrosse field. Whether this anecdotal pattern bears out in the data will be determined in the coming analysis stage. Overall, the survey team is happy to have completed its data collection and looks forward to answers offered in the analysis stage.i The survey teams also had the pleasure of meeting several dogs, and had a great moment of community

outreach, explaining our project to the dog owners.

The mapping team finished laying out the points for the grid in GIS, as well as the new test pits and newly uncovered pieces of the path system. The hope is that the gis points laid down in the previous field day will be helpful in identifying the spatial orientation from the plans. At the moment we have a well developed map of the site and a completed survey, that should provide us ample data to work with in the coming weeks.

PineHillGrid-2