Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Arcadia Mill Field School Week 4

Week 4 of the Arcadia Field School brought a lot of rainy days for us. Students worked diligently in the field through the limited dry hours of each day, but when the rain picked up, we retreated to the lab to complete paperwork and rough sort artifacts to make the most of our time. We still have our fair share of fun in the lab despite the looming rain clouds.

Our progress this week was focused on three units that we opened last week. If you recall from last week, shovel test 502 was expanded to the 1 meter by 1 meter Unit 153 to reveal more information on the structural brick pier such as orientation, depth, and integrity of the structure. By close of business on Friday, we still have yet to reach the deepest extent of the structure. This is actually good news because this brick pier appears to be mostly intact. We expect that early next week we will reach the bottom of the brick pier, close this unit, and start another unit elsewhere. Below is a photograph of Unit 153 and students Hannah and Robert mapping the unit and features.

Unit 154 was opened last week as an extension of last year's Unit 138 that contained what we believed to be a brick wall. But the brick structure in Unit 138 is in alignment with the brick piers in Units 152 and 153. After reinterpreting Unit 138, we are investigating Unit 154 for the potential of the wall to be another structural brick pier. We have uncovered portions of mortar in the floor of the unit that is associated with the brick structure. We are so close to revealing the structure, but it will have to wait until next week. We did, however, encounter a fairly sizable root in the western portion of the unit that is too large to remove and yet difficult to work around. Below is a photograph of the unit and one of our students, Beth, removing sediment from the unit to be screened for artifacts.

And Unit 150 was opened in week two of field school. This week, students uncovered a peculiar round soil stain on the floor of the unit. We are unsure of what it is, but it is speculated to be a post that was driven into the ground. So far, no other stains were found, but there was a nice cut nail recovered from the unit. Below is a photo depicting the dark stain in the floor of the unit labeled F503.

We did not make it to the field on the rainy Thursday. Instead, we took the students to visit the FPAN museum, the TT Wentworth Jr. Florida State Museum, and visited the First City Art Center. Below, our students enjoy the museums and pose with the shipwrecked Tristan De Luna.

We want to give a special thank you to the First City Art Center for hosting both Arcadia and Molino Field Schools on Thursday, especially on such short notice! Both field schools were called off for the day due to severe rain storms, and First City Art Center graciously welcomed our very large group to a glass making history discussion and glass blowing demonstration. Each student was invited to observe the process as well as participate in crafting a free blown glass ornament of color choice.

Above, you can see our students working through the various steps in creating their very own glass blown ornament. The delightful experience certainly was the highlight for us all and inspired us to look forward to the other options that First City Art Center has to offer such as glass bead making and ceramic lessons for future rainy days. 

If you are interested in the classes, workshops, or studio space that the First City Art Center has to offer, please contact them at 850-429-1222 or visit their website at for more information. You can also visit the studio located at 1060 N Guillemard Street, Pensacola, FL 32501. 

Don't forget to join us at the Arcadia Mill Public Field Lab every Friday between 10AM and 2PM to learn more about our local history, archaeology, and artifacts. The lab is free of charge and fully open to the public. However, we do ask that any children under 16 be accompanied by an adult. We hope to see you there, and tune in next week for an update on our fieldwork progress!

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