Week Eight Summary

This week was the third and final day of excavation work at the Women’s League Cabin site. While the excavation and total survey work continued, the class also hosted a Community Archaeology Day. Members of the Carleton and Northfield community were invited to come and visit the site between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to check out the area and our finds, chat with students, and watch archaeology in action. A shuttle was driven between the Arb Office and the site on the half hour in order to facilitate visits. The event was well advertised by an outreach team of students and Alex through targeted emails and flyers to individuals with an interest in the site or class. In addition students were encouraged to invite their friends to attend. Many different people visited the site over the course of the afternoon and allowed the class to better engage the community in our project.

Approximately twenty people visited the site as part of the Community Archaeology Day. Visitors ranged from current Carleton students to professional archaeologists. Several professors visited, especially from the Classics department, and one even brought her family along. Students from Carleton and St. Olaf with relevant interests in archaeology seemed excited by the class and interested in future projects. Carleton administration and Arb staff were also present and very enthusiastic about exploring Carleton’s past archaeology. Someone from the Minnesota State Archaeologist office and Alex’s relatives rounded out our fairly large party of visitors.

Chloe and other students greeted visitors and conducted tours of the site, explaining both the history of the Women’s League Cabin site and the archaeology work conducted by the class. Explaining the site to a range of visitors gave the class the opportunity to learn about different potential community and professional interests in our work. Additionally, describing our process for different audiences helped us to understand it better ourselves. It was also useful to talk and connect with other people interested in archaeology.

Excavation Report:

While visitors mingled throughout the site, excavation in all three trenches continued. The tarps were successfully removed to initiate work, and the trenches were largely free of water. The class was divvied up and resumed the process that had been established in the previous week. Teams at all three trenches separated soil scraped from different contexts into buckets. If artifacts were not found during the scraping, they were revealed when the loose soil was passed through the soil sifter. Overall, fewer artifacts were found in the trenches this week than during previous excavation.

Trench 1:

On this final day of excavation, Trench 1 remained divided between sandy orange context 2 and dark organic rich context 4. We believe context 2 to have lain outside the front door of the cabin. We continued and completed excavation of context 2, which contained the highest concentration of artifacts within trench 1. The highlights included a piece of ceramic plate and some bones. Context 4 contained fewer artifacts and many pockets of black clay. We found an additional paver at a lower depth, and some nails.

Trench 1 findings are as follows:

Context 2: Metal – 4, Ceramic – 2, Bone – 3, Other – 5

Context 4: Glass – 4, Metal – 1, Lithic – 1

Trench 2:

As excavation of trench 2 continued, contexts 3 and 4 were complete and closed, and context 5 was opened. The contexts in the trench were divided by a row a stone pavers.  During excavation, the team reached below the level of the patio, and evidence of additional stone below the patio was found.  The most unique finds of the day included a bullet casing and pencil lead.

Trench 2 findings are as follows:

Context 3: Glass – 4, Metal – 6, Charcoal – 7, Other – 1

Context 4: Glass – 37, Metal – 2, Lithic – 5, Other – 1, Unknown – 21

Context 5: Lithic – 8, Charcoal – 3

Trench 3:

Trench 3, the smallest trench, was very deep by the end of this excavation period.  A new soil layer that was documented as context 5 was finally reached, and some nails and charcoal were found.  Overall, there were fewer artifacts found than in previous weeks.

Trench 3 findings are as follows:

Context 4: Glass – 1, Metal – 4

Context 5: Glass – 1 Charcoal – 8

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