Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The archaeologists have arrived

The Colonial Frontiers Project officially kicked off yesterday with the arrival of nine first-time field school students. The day started with some general maintenance and further establishment of the grid.

We started out putting three shovel tests in the ground relatively close to our datum point. These shovel tests were located predominantly in or near fill which was brought in following a railroad derailment in the area during the 1990s. This meant that one of the shovel tests was completely fill dirt, while another was highly disturbed, though it appears that there may be some intact deposits located under the fill.

Despite this, the day did bring us the first possible evidence of the earliest European settlements in the area. In the moderately disturbed shovel test, we recovered a piece of Brown Salt Glazed Stoneware which dates to the 18th century. Since its production pre-dates 1775, it is either our first indication of the initial British Period plantation activity in this stretch of the Escambia River, or possibly the first evidence for the First Spanish mission community we are searching for.

In another shovel test to the north we found our first feature at the end of day one. We documented it and will be excavating it today. Also found in this test pit were some fragments of free-blown olive green glass, also possibly from the colonial period. All these are tantalizing signs of the missing chapters of early colonial history in this region, but much more work remains.

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