Monday, June 8, 2009
Picking up speed and finding some clues
Today was a great day for the colonial frontiers field school. It was a beautiful day with hardly a cloud in the sky and the students were energetic after the weekend. We've picked up the pace already this week by completing three shovel tests today, most of which were outside of the worst of the soil disturbances caused by a train derailment years ago.
We also found the first indication of the Native American population we're looking for in the form of a small piece of eroded sand tempered pottery. It could be from any one of several time periods, including the Apalachee of the Spanish era, so we'll have to wait until we find comparable examples with some kind of surface decorations to know more.
So far, all our undisturbed shovel tests lack any evidence of a plowzone, which suggests that much of this location may never have been farmed, accounting for the general lack of surface finds over the years. The good news is that if and when we locate the buried remains of Native American or Spanish structures or activity areas, their state of preservation may be far better than normal.
Another couple of pieces of brown salt-glazed stoneware were found today on the surface near the river, matching others we found in surface collections overlooking the river last week, so we are pushing the shovel test lines towards the river over the next couple of days looking for some sort of definitive signature of our lost Spanish mission.