Monday, July 20, 2009

Still more

Today one of our crews opened a 2 meter by 2 meter unit around the shovel test with the wall-trench structure corner, with the goal of exploring this architectural feature in greater detail, and obtaining a larger sample of the artifacts associated with it. Due to its larger size, the unit is proceeding slowly using the flat-shoveling technique bring it down in even, 10 cm. levels (photo to right). By the end of the day, only the first level had been completed, bringing the unit down through the upper root mat and humus, but we have already begun to find more evidence of activities at the Escambe mission.

In addition to a good number of Native American sherds, including several of the type Ocmulgee Fields Incised, a white glass seed bead was found, virtually identical with the two found in a shovel test not far away during mid-June. More significantly, however, we recovered a stamped lead bale seal (photo to left, uncleaned) with the letter "K" above a line, and the number "653" below the line, and other letters around the outside on the top half (largely truncated by the edge of the seal). Such seals are thought to have been used to seal bales or bundles of cloth or other trade goods, and they are not uncommon on 18th-century sites in Southeastern North America, particularly on those associated with Native American trading. This one is a particularly well-preserved example, and might provide enough information to allow it to be dated more precisely, or associated with a particular merchant or manufacturer.

Other crews worked in additional tests along the margins of the site today, but we plan to focus on the mission village itself in the final three weeks of field school. We have only just begun our more extensive excavations into the newly-identified mission deposits, so we anticipate more to report in future days.

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