Thursday, July 23, 2015

A change of pace: fieldwork at a Second Spanish Period sawmill community

For the past week and a half, the Colonial Frontiers field school crew has been conducting a shovel test survey at a completely different archaeological site, a water-powered sawmill dating primarily to the Second Spanish Period (1781-1821) located along a creek feeding into the Escambia River from the west.  The site has received limited archaeological surface survey in the past, but is now the focus of master's thesis research by one of this year's field directors, Jillian Okray, and so our students have just wrapped up 8 days of shovel testing at the site.  Here, along the broad, gently sloping ridge bordering the remnants of the mill dam, we have found clear evidence for the small mill community founded here during the late 18th century, including several concentrations of what appears to be residential debris dating to the time period of the mill.  Apart from a total of 74 shovel tests completed across the site in an attempt to define and bound the occupation, one narrow test trench was excavated in an area that appears to have a collapsed brick structure, either a wall or pier or chimney base.  Despite intense heat and humidity over the past few days in the field, students learned the basics of shovel test survey and simultaneously provided us a great new window into the Second Spanish community located at the site.  We hope to return to the site in the fall in order to explore a few questions left unanswered during our short stay at the site this summer, but for the moment, a series of photos below will show some of our activities and finds at the site.

Olivia and Tyler work on a shovel test next to one of the site datums.

Volunteer Nikki Mauro shaps a picture of a shovel test with some help; also pictured are Melissa, Tyler, Kayla, and Jillian.

Jen uses a coring device to explore stratigraphy while Kelsey looks on.

Olivia and Caroline excavate in the trench while Jillian and Melissa sift.

Darby and Tyler work on a test next to the lakebed.
Kelsey and Tyler hold a massive root they conquered while digging a shovel test.

Volunteers Kristin Parrish and Chelsea Randall help Jodi and Kayla excavating and sifting.
View of the brick wall and associated scatter when originally identified.

Careful excavation around the bricks in the trench.
Volunteer Michelle Pigott helps Olivia and Jodi excavate the brick wall feature.

View of the brick wall and collapsed scatter after excavation.
A charred board found within a pit feature containing poorly-fired handmade brick rubble.

The entrance to the natural gap in the ironstone peninsula where the mill raceway may have been located.

Jillian, Kayla, and Emma exploring the raceway trough.

Kayla, Emma, Jillian, and Dr. Worth in the raceway, as viewed from the bridge above.

View of what appear to be chisel marks along the base of the stone raceway, apparently where Spanish mill owners straightened a portion of the natural stone trough.

Jillian examines a vertical notch carved into the stone wall at the base of the raceway, presumably made to emplace a wooden structural element.

A blown glass stopper for a cruet or similar container.
Side and end views of two of the glass beads found on the site.
Front and back views of a brass button with attached wire loop.
The neck of a handmade bottle.
Another handmade bottle neck with applied strip.
Some ceramics from the site.
Surface finds near the mill raceway, including an iron "log dog."
Brushed pottery, probably associated with Creek Indians either during or just prior to the mill occupation.
A transfer print sherd.
A large, bent wrought iron nail.
A large sherd of a shell-edge plate.

1 comment:

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