Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I started a new archaeology project. We are working downtown next to the new underpass. The area was a dirt lot and I wasn't expecting to find much, thinking the area had probably been very disturbed. Of course I was wrong.

The historic fire insurance maps for Tucson, which begin in 1883, indicate that a warehouse, the Southern Pacific Railroad ice house, and a house were on the land between 1883 and the 1890s. These were replaced by a club for Southern Pacific employees around 1904, with this building standing until sometime after 1940 (I have not done the archival research on the property yet).

Yesterday we dug a backhoe trench down the length of the property and immediately started finding outhouse (privy) pits and brick wall foundations.

Brick foundations of the crew club.

The club foundations were made from bricks and were very well preserved. We can see where the porch wrapped around the building and where the floor joists were placed. In the picture above you can see a large green stain to the left of the bucket, lying beneath the foundations. This may be part of the railroad ice house, we haven't dug into it yet.

Poop tends to turn bright green when buried for a long time, and in the picture below you can see the shaft of an outhouse pit that was later built over by the club building.

Green outhouse dirt (click on picture to see better).

Allen and Benny are working on another outhouse pit. After about four feet of fairly clean fill dirt, dumped in to fill the shaft, they finally hit a layer of artifacts including a cup made in Japan, a Mexican animal-shaped vessel (perhaps a piggy bank), a decorated O'odham water jar, and chicken bones. This outhouse may turn out to be very rich in terms of the artifact content.

Tyler maps in the outhouse pit.

It is always nice to make unexpected, interesting finds.

And in other news, the chocolate pudding and chocolate whipped cream I made last night were extra awesome.

Newer›  ‹Older

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

comments powered by Disqus