Saturday, February 8, 2014

Site-clearing begins for 2014 summer field season at Mission Escambe

Saturday volunteer student field crew at Mission Escambe.
We're back!  After a break during the summer of 2013, the UWF Colonial Frontiers terrestrial archaeological field school is gearing up for our 2014 summer field season, when we will return to Mission San Joseph de Escambe for year five of research.

Today we had a crew of more than a dozen student volunteers return to the site for the first time since July of 2012 for some vegetation clearing.  We were pleasantly surprised to see that our previous clearing had not grown up too badly in the intervening year and a half, so students quickly turned their attention to the downslope edge of the woods to the east of the main mission compound.  Under the leadership of our 2014 student field director Michelle Pigott, the team worked on clearing a part of the site we had never thoroughly penetrated before because of a dense growth of privet hedge. 
Eastern margin of the mission site, newly exposed.
When their efforts were done, we were amazed to see how much of the mission topography we had been unable to see except in extrapolated topographic maps.  When more fully mapped, this may give us a better perspective on the configuration of the eastern mission stockade wall discovered in 2012.

We also spent some time using a 1/2 inch coring device to explore the central area of the mission compound where a burned clay layer was found in 2012. 
Dark midden overlying sterile yellow clay subsoil.
Though it appears this burned area is fairly restricted in extent, a dark midden deposit extends deeper than normal next to this excavation unit, giving us one target for further exploration this summer.

Keep an eye out for more frequent updates as warmer weather approaches!

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