Today was the last day for six of our students who will be spending the last five weeks of the field school participating in the UWF Maritime Field School (pictured at right is our crew at the end of the day today). Tomorrow their counterparts will be joining us from their first five weeks on the water.
Progress continues to be made in all excavation units, and we are finally beginning to drop down into the mission-period pit features that should eventually help us define structures and activity areas on the site. Two units on either side of the wall trench section discovered last year have now been brought down even with the top of this same post-on-sill wall trench as it runs east and west, and both show evidence that the trench extends in both directions at least as far as these units (one meter in each direction). These trench sections, along with other pit features that appear to be contemporaneous (see photo to left), will be excavated carefully over the next days as we further explore this substantial mission-period structure.
To the south, the units being excavated into the clay-capped overlapping post-in-trench structures are finally beginning to push down into the uppermost occupational layer, and both old and new wall-trench segments are beginning to appear. Though we will have to wait until the precise relationship between the newly-identified trench features and those discovered last year, another small pit feature appeared today--a smudge pit filled with charred corn cobs--corresponding to a similar feature discovered last year barely half a meter away. The cobs (pictured to right) appear to be of the same 8-row variety, and excavation will proceed very delicately in order to preserve these botanical remains for detailed study.
These same units also produced two new types of mission-era ceramics in good context today, pictured below. The first is a ring-base from a porcelain cup, and was likely among the more expensive ceramics available on the colonial frontier.
The second sherd below is a fragment of French faience, which is not uncommon on Spanish colonial sites of this era, but which might reflect exchange with the nearby French colony at Mobile.