Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Week 8 Update

Week 8 is a crucial point in the field school. We have closed several units meaning we will no longer excavate any portion of the unit. It is this time that we are finalizing our documentation and paperwork for those units as well as opening a few more units as the students become more comfortable, more confident, and more independent during this field school. The end is near, so we are in rally mode to collect as much data as possible! The photograph below depicts two of our students, Robert Love and Ken Newquist, mapping the profiles of Unit 152 after excavation was completed.

We opened up several new units this week to get a bigger picture of the various structural remains belonging to the Simpson House. Unit 158 is a 1 meter x 1.5 meter unit that is adjacent to Units 138, 156, and 157. Unit 158 was set in place to capture more information about the anomalous brick wall that turned to the south in Unit 157 when we initially thought it would turn to the north. Progress on this particular unit was quick because we have an idea of what we are looking for in the unit and could see the stratigraphy of the surrounding units. We excavated to level 4 when we encountered the brick wall and associated brick rubble, as photographed below facing north.

The image below depicts every unit that contains portions of the brick wall, pictured facing south. (Unit 138 is in the top left, Unit 154 is in the bottom left, Unit 156 is pictured center, Unit 157 is in the bottom right, and Unit 158 is in the top right corner of the photograph.)

Unit 159 was also opened this week. It was an extension to the large group of units, adjacent to Unit 158. Unit 159 is a 1m x 2m sized unit, oriented north/south to capture the brick wall. We will be interested to see where exactly that wall goes, but we must hurry before field school is over! Below is a photo of our field school student Hanah Brock working diligently on Unit 159! Stay tuned for an update on what this unit has to offer!

Unit 160 was another new unit opened this week. It measures 1m x 1.5m and is immediately adjacent to Unit 152 (which was one of the first units opened this summer). Unit 160 was opened to investigate the potential for another brick pier and curtain like that of Units 153 and 155. Based on the layout and configuration of the features in those earlier units, we expect another brick pier and curtain to be within the boundaries of Unit 160. Probing efforts did indicate some rubble beneath the surface, but we really have no way of knowing for sure unless we peel back the layers. Below is our graduate student from UCF, Beth Chance, happily removing the sediment with her square shovel in hand!


We also conducted a GPR (ground penetrating radar) survey over a portion of the Simpson Lot with the help from Jennifer Melcher, UWF Archaeology Institute, and her father Mr. Melcher. She helped us survey the private property at the beginning of the field school and returned with some help on Friday to help us explore the areas we may not get a chance to extensively explore this summer. We set a 10m x 20m grid over the southern portion of where we expect the Simpson House to be and the team towed the GPR up and down to get a full picture of what lies beneath. Pictured below is Jennifer, Mr. Melcher, and Beth towing the equipment through the brush to obtain the most accurate data possible.


The GPR survey produced great results! As pictured below, you can see some linear signatures (circled in blue), at just 21-34 cm below the surface, that may coincide with the brick wall feature in our conglomerate of units (Units 138, 154, 156, 157, 158, and 159). We expect to reveal a portion of that in Unit 159 next week. The other small circular signatures are believed to be additional brick piers, similar to those uncovered in Units 152, 153, and 155. Some appear to be in a linear orientation with one another. If time permits, we hope to explore those with shovel tests!

Be sure to look for next week's update on all the progress of the ongoing units! Also this Friday, July 17th, we will be hosting our very last field lab at the Arcadia Museum from 10 am to 2 pm! It is the last one of the summer, so come on by to get your hands dirty with local history by rough sorting artifacts from this summer's field school! Tours are also available on site! We hope to see you then!

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