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The 5th season of the Greene Farm archaeology project began on June 2, 2008. This year our excavations continue to focus on the 17th-century Old House area. We are excavating several large units in order to interpret the complex architectural features of the structure(s) of and related to the Old House. The excavations are expanding off of the three trenches uncovered in 2007. During Week 1 we opened one huge 4x4m unit (Trench 6) in the vicinity of the foundation wall(s), and one 3x2 unit (Trench 5) in between the two large trenches (2&3) that we dug last year. In Week 3 we are opening a third 3x3m unit (Trench 4) just south of Trench 6 and north of Trench 2.
Photos of our work and finds from each of the four weeks are posted below. Enjoy!
The field season got off to a fast and exciting start this week, and our current crew of 12 dedicated their energies to everything from site preparation to excavations. The weather was typical of an early New England summer - our week fluctuated between hot, sunny & cold, rainy days. Despite the dampness of the latter half of the week, the crew worked tirelessly to clean the 2007 units, lay out the new 2008 excavation areas, and to uncover two features from 2007 that we left intact over the winter.
Trenches 1, 2, and 3, the excavation units from 2007 covered by tarps. Over the winter these tarps proved adequate protection from some of the elements, but they didn't fend off the weeds and animals of the surrounding hayfield. The beautifully clean and square units transformed over the winter as some of the walls crumbled or caved in, and as plants and hay eagerly reclaimed their former home. Our week began with a clean up of the hay and plants in and around the units.
Ninian Stein removes cut hay from the site.
The field crew cleans the hay and plant growth from former units.
Noah Wiener, Katherine Costa, and Ashley Greene (r-l) clean the surface of Trench 3, which was excavated in 2007.
Caroline Frank and Andrew Bearnot removing a backdirt pile from 2006 because it was on top of where we plan to excavate this season (of course!).
Krysta Ryzewski cleaning the surface of Trench 3. A 1x1 meter bulk (in foreground, right) was left in place last year and removed this week. The SW corner of Trench 2 is visible in the background.
Trench 2 looking weathered after a long winter. The area in the foreground of the 3x3m unit is part of the midden deposit and was unexcavated in 2007 -- it was removed this week.
A view of the "new" Manor House from the Old House foundation, exposed in Trench 1 in 2007 and in 2006 excavations. The orange flags mark the location of this year's excavation areas.
The view of Trench 1 facing east, towards the water.
Katherine and Andrew practicing their dry screening technique.
Caroline instructs Ashley, Grace, and Noah in the fine art of wet seiving through 1/8 inch mesh.
Trench 2 after clean-up reveals two clear building trench features in the west and north walls, cut into the sterile orange glacial subsoil. The midden in the foreground was still unexcavated. The flags in the background mark the location of the future Trench 5, which will link Trenches 2 and 3.
The 1x1m bulk in Trench 3 during its removal this week.
Trench 2 during midden excavations.
Wednesday brought rain....lots of rain. Luckily Randi Scott's stylish bright yellow rainsuit kept her dry as she wet screened the Trench 3 1x1m.
Krysta retreats into a makeshift shelter in Trench 3 to keep the excavation paperwork dry. The 1x1m bulk we were excavating is in the foreground.
Kaitlin's rainsuit kept her dry and happy as she measured out the new excavation areas.
Caroline cleaning Trench 2 during the removal of the midden deposit.
The midden deposit from Trench 2 is filled with interesting household and other 17th-century artifacts. Here is a piece of lead uncovered from the deposit, with a studded texture on one side. We will have to research this object to figure out what it was a part of.
Caroline holds a fragment of a wooden comb that miraculously survived in the midden deposit
The other side of the lead object.
An assortment of materials recovered from the midden deposit in Trench 2, including ceramics, animal bone, nails, shell, lead object, and a pipe stem.
Noah and Jonathan attentively screening midden soil.
Katherine and Grace excavate the Trench 2 midden deposit.
Shovel shaving is the method of choice for working through the midden.
Next to the midden a square feature was exposed, probably associated with a support beam in the structure. Here Grace, Katherine, and Caroline clean around the feature, which was bisected in order to study it in cross-section. Half of it was left in-situ to show visitors and to examine in relation to other similar features in Trenches 2 and 3.
A close up view of the bisected feature in Trench 2.
The future home of Trench 6, which is a 4x4m unit incorporating the western end of Trench 1 from 2007. We chose this location for a new unit because we are interested in exposing the wall's extent and what surrounds it.
The plan view of Trench 2 after the midden soil was removed in the southeast (bottom right) corner. The extent of the builder's trench feature is also visible. The feature's soil transitions to the glacial subsoil after about 2 more centimeters, but we chose to stop excavating the trenches for now so that we can hopefully expose them in greater detail in the adajacent units we plan to dig this season.
The view of Trench 2 facing towards Trench 3. The area in between these trenches is the location of Trench 5, which we began excavating this week.
A close up view of the wall feature, which appears to end here, in the northeast corner of Trench 2. The smaller stones are still held together with mortar, and the face of the stones along the right edge is flat, possibly indicating an exterior surface of the structure. We will gather more information about this feature when we open up Trench 8, into which this feature extends.
A close up view of the largest stone in this feature. Large stones are not native to the Greene Farm coastal landscape, so the fact that these stones remain in situ is impressive. Chisel marks from quarrying are visible along the side of this stone.
During our cleaning of Trench 2 several artifacts were exposed in the west wall of the unit, which is also the east wall of Trench 5. The artifacts are associated with the midden soil context. Here is a base of a 17th-century onion bottle.
A large animal bone (cow) embedded in the same midden soil, which is also loaded with small architectural fragments (brick, slate, mortar, shells).
A close up of the soil filling one of the builder's trench features in Trench 2.
Grace, Katherine, and Andrew learn how to take elevations and to draw a scale map of Trench 2.
The view of future Trench 5 (foreground) and Trench 4 (left front), which will encompass the areas between Trenches 2 and 3, and among earlier shovel test pits and a 2x2m unit from 2005 and 2006.
Kaitlin instructs Ashley and Jonathan as they take opening elevation measurements for Trench 6.
The triumphant crew of Trench 6 after they complete sod removal from the new unit's surface.
Trench 6, Strata 1 after clean up. What lies beneath awaits us in Week 2.
Trench 5 begins to bridge the gap between Trenches 2 and 3. Friday wrapped up with our exposure of the midden soil here underneath Strata 1 topsoil. Monday will surely be filled with interesting finds!
Week 2 click here