Sunday, June 7, 2015

Three weeks down

Crew lunch sitting around the location of the hearth found in 2014.
Three weeks into our 2015 summer field school season, the PCF crew is making good progress in both the mission and sawmill areas of the site.  On the terrace summit, excavations continue in two 1x2m units along the the possible wall-lines of the circular structure predicted to surround the burned clay hearth discovered last year (and around which our entire field crew had lunch this past week, sitting within what would have been the walls of this presumptive Apalachee structure; pictured above).

The southern unit intersected the clay-capped trenches we now believe resulted from an early 19th-century log skid road, and these features are currently being excavated to allow progress in the underlying and adjacent undisturbed mission-era midden and possible wall line (pictured below). Mission-era artifacts are still being produced in this unit (possible pipe bowl rim pictured below), with more doubtless to come once the later features are removed.

Emma and Tyler carefully removing the yellow clay from the underlying trench fill.

Tyler holding a possible pipe bowl or tiny bowl fragment.
Sabrina bisecting the shallow postmold.
The eastern unit has already produced a small, shallow post feature that may relate to benches or walls within the structure (pictured while being bisected, to left), as well as quite a bit of residential debris from the mission period, including abundant Apalachee ceramics, gunflint flakes, and a good number of small fragments of Spanish majolica dishes (pictured below).

Several tiny sherds of majolica, one with orange and brown paint under the glaze.

Jodi and Darby working on all four unit profiles.
The unit in Area C to the south that had been begun in 2014 was finally completed and backfilled this week, and detailed profiling of the stratigraphy and the clay-lined feature disturbance in it will help us interpret this unit in light of the line of three deep posts found just to the northwest in an adjacent unit last year (which we plan to explore next in this area).
All four profiles lined up together showing corresponding strata.

To the east below the bluff edge, three excavations in Area F are probing the layout of the late 19th-century sawmill here. On the bluff slope, a 1x2m unit is still being lowered to the elevation of a brick floor discovered last year in a nearby shovel test.  This flooring structure seems to have been covered in accumulated soil from higher up the slope, and while most of the overlying artifacts date to the mill period, some earlier material also appears in these deposits, presumably having washed in from above.
Jillian and Caroline excavate around several concreted mill-era iron objects.

The nearby shovel test at the base of the bluff has dropped right on top of the edge of what initially appears to be some sort of clay floor or wall foundation, which is adjacent to (and partially mixed with) a rubble deposit with large broken bricks and brick fragments and other debris mixed with dirt.  The explanation for these finds is still unknown, but continued excavation in this shovel test should provide important clues.
View of brick rubble adjacent the clay feature in the shovel test (facing east).

Farther east, a new 1x2m unit was just opened on Friday out in the middle of the sawmill structure on the shaded lower terrace, and also in the middle of the worst infestation of mosquitoes at the site.  Roots are plentiful in this unit, including huge masses of greenbrier roots, such as the gargantuan one pictured below.  Probing suggests there should be another brick floor in this area, and we have hopes that debris from the 1884 fire that destroyed Molino Mills might show up in this area, permitting us to learn more about the spatial layout of the mill and its machinery and work spaces.
Michelle Pigott and Jen Knutson triumph over a greenbrier root; Kelsey and Melissa in background.

In addition, we finally have our waterscreening station operational now (pictured below), allowing our crew to make better progress through the sometimes-dense clay deposits at the site.
Waterscreening with Darby, Caroline, Tyler, Sabrina, and Jillian.

A few pictures follow of some of the animal residents of the site, including our self-appointed field dog, "Precious" aka "Diggity Dog."
A green tree frog perching perilously close to some huge thorns.

A tussock moth caterpillar crawling on Emma.

Our near constant field companion, "Precious" (or "Diggity Dog"); Tyler, Darby, and Kayla in background.

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