Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Shovel Test Update: Kyle Feriend and Eric Swanson

A successful week of testing at Arcadia Mill’s Simpson Lot has brought many interesting details to the site. Working carefully through the sedimentary layers, the team composed of Kyle Feriend and supervisor Eric Swanson excavated in three separate areas of the lot. In a shovel test in the southwestern quarter of the lot, an indeterminate feature appeared in the bottom 20 cm of the sandy loam sediment. Some significantly sized pieces of burned wood indicated that a burning event took place in the area during the historical period of Arcadia’s occupation. In this same test, some porcelain, a copper tool, and various iron objects were found throughout the historic layer associated with this burned feature. The team moved to the southern property boundary soon after preserving the burned feature for future excavation.

The purpose of digging the following two shovel tests was to bring a greater understanding of the overall context of the site, and to protect cultural remains that would be affected by the building of a fence in the area. These tests, like many that take place across the state, find and protect cultural resources from destruction when building projects take place. In this shovel test, very little cultural material was recovered, so Kyle and Eric moved eastward to test another area.

Along the eastern property boundary, Kyle and Eric excavated another shovel test placed strategically along the proposed fence-line. The high concentration of trees and other flora in the area created a challenge, as well as gave important clues as to the context of the site. The presence of magnolia trees in the area gives a hint as to the quality of the soils, and whether the area would have been an ideal place to live. As the team excavated in 20 cm levels, it became apparent that this area had significantly more cultural material than the previous shovel test. These two factors give the research team reason to believe that this was an area of domestic occupation. Among the artifacts recovered were ceramic water pipe, an iron utensil handle, several nails, glass, and kitchen ceramics.

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