Monday, September 12, 2011

Today was the first day of my latest archaeology dig. We are working downtown on a block first occupied in 1883, when a pair of duplex houses were built. The 1883 insurance map shows the houses, three outhouses, and two wells. We have located one of the houses, two outhouses, and a well. The other house was destroyed when a hotel basement was dug through it in the early 1900s. We may find the other well and outhouse, but have to remove a concrete foundation and floor first.

Overview of the dig site. Click on picture to see the outlines of features.

Dan is busy stripping the site- first removing the asphalt and then scraping the dirt away until we find features and/or the sterile dirt. Anything we find- postholes, pits, foundations, and utility trenches- gets outlined in white paint so we can keep track of them. This is particularly important because it has been raining the last few days.

Where's Homer?

The first two pits we worked on turned out to be insubstantial and yielded few artifacts. We then started on one of the 1883 outhouses and Allen thought it might have been dug by bottle hunters because the upper meter of fill was a brown sand that lacked artifacts.

Allen excavating the outhouse.

Towards the end of the day he struck the greenish gray, ashy poop layer and started finding artifacts. So far these have included:

- a kitten skeleton
- an arm and two legs from a small porcelain doll
- four buttons
- a rubber enema bag.

Wonder what will be found tomorrow?

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