Saturday, June 18, 2011

Half way through

Rain and lightning shortened the last two days of week 5, though shade and occasionally cooler temperatures were a welcome relief from this summer's heat and humidity. Progress continued in the field, nonetheless, including the recovery of a large Native American potsherd with a foot-ring base (pictured in lab above and below). This sherd is what archaeologists term colono ware, referring to Native-made ceramics crafted in European vessel forms. Such sherds are comparatively rare, even on mission sites, but this sherd was from a vessel clearly designed to be used on a flat table, which was likely atypical for the Apalachee residents of Mission Escambe. Recent master's thesis research by former UWF grad student Jennifer Melcher suggests that such vessels were likely made by Indians for Spanish use, and were produced within the context of a local market for Native-made tableware as replacements for relatively scarce supplies of Mexican and Spanish majolica. The sherd pictured here might have been made for the resident Franciscan missionary at Escambe, or for the cavalry officer or soldiers, though it also might have graced the table of chief Juan Marcos, or any other Apalachee dignitary who occasionally entertained European visitors.

This colono ware sherd was recovered from deep within the posthole pictured above, and was almost as wide as the posthole itself. Well over a dozen other good-sized sherds have been recovered from this posthole, which obviously served as an impromptu dump for trash.

Thursday morning our students were also pleased to visit one of the other two terrestrial UWF field school sites at Arcadia Mill (pictured to left, and below). There, principal investigator John Phillips was aided by Brian Mabelitini and several graduate student supervisors in explaining their ongoing quest to locate residential structures and activity areas associated with slaves employed at the mill during the early-to-mid 19th century. Though we were literally chased out off the site by rain, everyone enjoyed the chance to see another dimension of UWF's archaeology program. Thanks to one at all at Arcadia!

More pictures of recent work at Mission Escambe are presented below (along with a link to a video).

Above, Colin Bean practices high-tech archaeological fieldwork, excavating in front of a laptop computer!

Students Ashley Geisel and John Hueffed continue work exploring the eastern end of the long wall-trench structure that we have been following since 2009, now including a very large subsurface disturbance that either borders the end of the wall or truncates it to the east.

Danielle Dadiego explains the yellow clay cap layer to retired National Park Service archaeologist Bennie Keel, while Rachael Mead flat-shovels through the tough clay.

And finally, linked here is a YouTube video of our "quick-exit" strategy for impending downpours...pile all the students into Norma Harris' truck for a quick ride to the parking area!

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