Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Getting clearer

View facing west showing yellow and grey clay layers.
Another long, hot summer day, and continuing progress at Mission Escambe.  Both excavation units in Area C are now pushing down into the yellow and grey clay cap layers, and their horizontal and vertical relationships to one another are becoming clearer all the time.  Today in one unit we were able to see the northern boundary of the thick yellow clay cap that immediately overlies two of the wall trenches first found in 2009, and the subsequent grey clay cap that overlaps a portion of it and continues northward beyond the extent of the yellow clay.  The labeled picture above shows both the plan view (horizontal) exposed today (in the foreground), as well as a profile view (vertical) of these same layers initially exposed last year, and re-excavated this year (in the background, under dappled sunlight).

Kendall Burns and Kristina de la Cruz waterscreening clay.
Kristina holding a sherd of Deptford Check Stamped pottery.
In order to excavate these clay layers, our water-screening station was set up today, providing both a more rapid way to sift the dense clay, as well as a welcome (if limited) break from the day's heat.  One find from this clay layer, a 2,000 year old sherd of check stamped pottery, was likely an accidental inclusion in the clay mined during the mission period to create these clay caps.

A sherd of Jefferson Check Stamped, variety Leon.
Another check stamped sherd, this one dating to the mission period, was found in a different excavation unit today, where we are searching for the eastern extent of the stockade wall trench.  Yet another unit, a shovel test, produced a complete railroad tie immediately adjacent to the presumed sawmill railroad berm.

Rusted but intact railroad spike similar to others found on site.
Brooke Joseph cleans unit walls amidst root disturbances.
We continue to push downward in all our excavation units, and despite ongoing battles with innumerable roots, as well as fire ants, we should be well within Mission Escambe's remains in most units by the end of the week.

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