Wednesday, July 9, 2014

An amazing find today

Kandiss and Michelle when pot was first found.
While there is much more to report and more pictures to share, one discovery today deserves its own post (and the video at the bottom of this post).  In Area G today, during the excavation of the rich midden deposit beneath the clay floor/cap layer, undergraduate student Kandiss Cambell made a completely unexpected discovery in the form of a small whole Apalachee pot.  While potsherds both small and large are commonly found while shovel scraping the midden deposits, Kandiss' careful and attentive work revealed that the pottery fragment she barely scraped with her shovel was much larger than any yet found at Mission Escambe, and in fact turned out to be a nearly complete small flaring rim jar apparently discarded two and a half centuries ago because a small portion of its lip had broken off. 
Jen Knutson pauses from excavating the jar.
Careful examination of the soil stains at this level revealed no discernible pit outlines within which the pot might have been buried, but it was close enough to an adjacent large posthole pit outline that it may have been associated with backfilling that posthole.  Another alternative is that the pot was broken within a residential structure that burned, and was subsequently buried with fill dirt and capped with clay (which would account for the abundant charcoal and charred bone fragments in this layer). 

 Although we will explore the area around the jar tomorrow in order to learn more about its context and the circumstances of its deposition, the vessel was removed and transported to the lab in order to ensure that impending rain this afternoon did not damage it. 
The excavated jar in situ nearly ready to be removed.
We hope to be able to excavate the contents of the vessel under controlled conditions in the lab so that we may find evidence for its original contents and/or use, potentially exploring chemical residues inside the vessel, as well as any pollen grains or plant phytoliths that might have survived inside the protected conditions of the jar.

Videos of the excavation of the pot have been compiled together in the link below.

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