Well, we have finally reached the official end of our excavation season. Dave and I will be out a couple of days this next week to finish up some last minute business at our sites, but our last day working with our Youthworks interns was yesterday.
While the Falls Rd. site will be the first of our five sites at which we will have actually finished
excavation, we wish we could dig there longer. On Thursday Dave and I saw a copy of the 1876 Hopkins Atlas of Baltimore that showed this property with another structure up front on the lots that comprise 3835-3837 Falls Rd. (the house ruins that are there now are on lot 3839), which tells us two things: (a) people were living here as early as the 1870s, when Hampden experienced its first population boom as people moved here to work in the mills, and (b) at least one house was gone by 1896, as we have another map showing only the house that was on lot 3839 and the house that is currently on lot 3837, at the back of the property well away from the road.
This map information dovetails nicely with the artifacts that we've been finding, both within the ruined house foundation and across the site underneath the sheet midden. Within the last few days we've recovered a number of kaolin pipe stems and pipe bowl fragments and various easily-datable ceramics, such as Rockingham ware, pearlware, blue feather-edge plates, and transfer-printed whitewares in green and black. While some of these ceramics were most popular from roughly 1780-1840, it is certainly possible that the people living in the houses on this site could have inherited them as family heirlooms, or that they are reproductions of antique ceramic styles that were popular during the Arts and Crafts movement of the early 20th century. Since we recovered all of these artifacts from undisturbed contexts, once we have been able to catalogue them and digest the data in the lab, they will tell us much about the daily lives of the former occupants of these lots.
After next week, Dave and I will both be taking some time off, so while we will post some pictures next week (I promise!), there likely won't be any activity on this blog for a couple of weeks after that. However, we will try to put up posts regularly through the fall, winter and spring as we continue to conduct archival research.