Friday, October 3, 2014

Field School Wrapup and Beyond

A group picture of our crew at the end of the 2014 field school.
The 2014 Pensacola Colonial Frontiers field school at Mission Escambe is now history, but work continues on our finds from the summer.  In addition to posting a few shots of our intrepid crew during the final week of fieldwork and backfilling at the end of July (below), this post details recent work on the small Apalachee jar that was excavated at the site in July.

Dr. Worth carefully positions the jar with dirt still inside.
The fractured vessel was removed whole, with all the original sediment within it still adhering to the vessel fragments on the outside.  In September, the jar was x-rayed in the UWF archaeological conservation lab, providing for the first time a glimpse of the walls of the jar, which were clearly somewhat less complete than we had originally believed in the field.  Nonetheless, the partial vessel had been discarded facing down in a pit excavated for a posthole, thus providing an unusually enclosed and protected environment for the interior of the pot, and the midden sediments that eventually settled there after burial.  For this reason, the final excavation of these sediments, and the separation of the vessel fragments from the cast of the interior of the vessel, was done in such a way as to maximize the possibility for residue and sediment testing, a project currently being pursued by graduate student Jen Knutsen.

Michelle and Jen watch Dr. Bratten as the image is captured.
 The pictures on this blog post detail both the x-ray process and the cleaning of the jar, leading to the exposure and cleaning of all the large fragments that had originally been deposited together in the partially-intact vessel.  We will update the progress on this and other labwork through the year as we continue to try and learn more about the residents of Mission Escambe following five field seasons of archaeological work there, for which we continue to be grateful to Richard Marlow and his family for their hospitality and welcome.

Dr. Bratten observing one of the full x-ray images of the jar.
An x-ray of the still-assembled jar and sediments within, showing the vessel profile clearly.

Michelle carefully cleans the dirt adhering to the vessel fragments.

One of the larger basal fragments comes free from the dirt inside.

Jen continues cleaning the dirt, catching the contents in a bowl for later analysis.

A large fragment of the upper shoulder and flaring rim of the jar.
Cleaned fragments of the small brushed jar.
 The pictures below were taken during our final week in the field during late July.
The trench in Area E half-filled with backdirt (and lined with landscape cloth).
Chelsea pours backdirt into a completed unit in Area G.

Mr. Marlow uses a tractor and front end loader to dump backdirt right in the wheelbarrows.