Hampden Heritage

Archaeology, History, and Heritage in Central Baltimore

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Further update from Pacific St.

First, allow me to apologize for letting almost a week go by without an update. We did, though, have the weekend and the Fourth off, so our progress has been relatively slow. Last Friday Diamond and I continued working in the unit at the back of the yard. As of the last post, we had just come down on Stratigraphic Layer 4, a level full of decaying mica. We began shoveling into it and discovered that it also contained several very large chunks of granite, of the kind that line the yards in Stone Hill. It was hard going, but fortunately the layer wasn't too thick, and beneath it was a layer of darker, moister soil. In addition, we finally began finding some artifacts in Strat 4--some older ceramics, some new-looking glass, some badly corroded nails, and what appears to be a water pipe connector. After recording Strat 4, Diamond and I began troweling through Stratigraphic Layer 5. The layer is full of coal, but has quite a few artifacts as well, including some transfer-printed ceramics, glass, nails, and brick and bone fragments. We had taken the layer down about 8 centimeters by the end of the day, and it appears to keep going down further.

Down in the outbuilding area, Dave, Thomas and Jacinda opened up a second unit diagonally to the southeast of their first one in an attempt to find a second edge to their feature. Unfortunately, they only ended up with a unit that was all feature! Thus, they had to open up yet another unit diagonally to the southeast, but they haven't gotten far enough down yet to know if they've finally found the edge.

Which reminds me of a bit of sad news--we've lost one of our workers. Thomas was transferred to another job, so he left after lunch on Friday. Our loss was compensated. however, by the addition to our crew of one Tyrae Cokley of Park Heights. Tyrae began with us on Monday, and after two days on the job has proven himself to be a quick learner and a fast digger.

On Monday Tyrae, Jacinda, Diamond and I laid out a grid for some shovel test pits (STPs)in the area of the yard immediately above the new addition to the house that is currently being built. (Dave was absent both Monday and today due to teaching duties in College Park.) This part of the yard will most likely not exist beyond next week, so we wanted to get a quick idea whether there is anything there worth digging into before it gets taken out by a backhoe. In all, over two days we completed 12 STPs spanning an area approximately 11x4 meters. The stratigraphy in the STPs was fairly straightforward, consisting mostly of a top layer and a bottom layer, with some area of mixture between the two due to faunal disturbance. Some of the STPs yielded few artifacts of any interest, but several of them contained some pretty interesting stuff--transfer-printed ceramics that probably date to the first half of the 19th century, some old bottle glass (including one small medicine bottle base and a glass stopper that probably went with it), etc. Despite the simple stratigraphy, which suggests that this area may be the product of backdirt dumping when the original addition to the house was put up, there were enough cool artifacts concentrated among three adjacent STPs to convince us to put in a unit here tomorrow to see what shows up.

Coming soon--pictures from our first two weeks!


Post a Comment

<< Home