Tuesday, March 13, 2012

At the end of most digs there are surprises. One of these was the discovery of burned daub (mud) that once plastered the inside of a house, burned hard when the house burned down about 1000-years-ago. You can still see the fingerprints of an ancient person on the daub.

Finger prints. Click on the pictures to see bigger versions, with more details.

On the south side of the area with prehistoric features we found a rectangular house, the walls lined with adobe and covered with plaster. We hurridly excavated it, recording the soil layers and exposing the floor, on which lay a broken decorated jar and several grinding stones.

Feature 160 with floor artifacts. 

Jeff and Olivia mapped the house, photographed the floor artifacts in place, and then removed them. We carefully document everything on forms, maps, and photographs, collecting the information for future archaeologists to examine.

Feature 160, completed.

Allen was examining the area just to the west of the house, and noticed another line of adobe. It turned out to be another, smaller rectangular structure. It was very shallow and we were able to quickly excavate it on Friday afternoon, exposing a broken jar and several pieces of ground stone on its floor.

Feature 164, with floor artifacts in place.

This structure differed from all of the others on the site because it did not have a hearth. When we removed the floor artifacts, we discovered five hollowed out areas on the floor, which we call pot rests. They are the spots where round-bottomed jars were once set. The structure turned out to be a storage building.

Feature 164, after removal of artifacts.

We found many pieces of burnt daub in these houses with impressions of beams and the materials used for the walls and roof. This sort of architectural information allows us to figure out how the long-disappeared super structure was put together.

We cleared some of the area in front of the houses, but did not find any other structures (although they may lie hidden beneath nearby trees or the backdirt pile). The dwelling and storage house, which probably date to around AD 1150, provide a great deal of information about the settlement of the area at that time.

Both houses.

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