Quiet Green Trench 3 (QG3)
It was a beautiful, breezy October day. At 10:00am, the class began to venture further down in both trenches. In trench 3, we used large pick axes and found a large amount of brick, which were pieces that were noticeably larger than before. Shards of pottery were also found, some were painted with blue designs, and others were what seemed like tile, glazed on one side.
As time progressed, we were lucky enough to have some visitors! All of the Archaeology on College Hill students were happy to pass their trowels on to some little archaeologists. We also were able to talk about some of the things we have been learning about over the past month and what we have found. Families stopped by on their way to family weekend activities to ask us about our project and what we were doing. And we soon learned that our little archaeologists were definitely not afraid of getting dirty, even those with dresses and nice clothes on! Professor Alcock couldn’t help but assist Catherine and Andy sift through our trench dirt. Some visitors helped us dig with hand picks, some helped us shovel dirt into the sifter and others helped sift and found some exciting things like pieces of glass and ceramics.
The trenches also produced some very interesting artifacts as well. We found some rusted nails, some pieces of a pipe and pottery. All of these finds will be helpful in dating the context (or depth) we have reached. As we go further down, we know through relative dating that we are finding older and older artifacts, but we can find specific dates through objects like pipe stems and pottery. As the students have read, the diameter of the hole in the pipe stem can lead us to a date, and also the type of pottery and the decorations can help as well.
Well into the afternoon, trench 3 was much deeper than when we started digging. A yellow soil was found in a rather unusual shape, which means it may have been a hole that was filled. The rest of the trench was a reddish soil with a soft texture that had black splotches within it. By the end of the day, the yellow soil had disappeared and only the reddish soil remained. In trench 4, there were different types of soil, so it was slow work digging. In trench 3, we were able to dig a fairly large amount down, which moved us much closer to our goal of a meter to a meter and a half deep!
This past Saturday, October 19th, was Parents’/Family weekend and so our class came to the trenches from 10am until 4pm. During that time, the trenches were open for any visitors to come and watch and even participate in our excavation. We were pleasantly surprised by how many people stopped by.
I found myself “bagging and tagging” artifacts for trench #3, meaning that I was responsible for sorting all the artifacts and putting them in their properly labeled bags. We started on context 3, lot 4 for trench #3, and this context was by far the most prolific in artifacts for that day. There were many of our usual finds, including many, many chunks of brick (over 2 gallon sized bags full), many rusted nails, pieces of glass, and charcoal. I also received many pieces of ceramic. Many were painted in the white and blue color scheme that we have found much of, as well as a light brown color that often features subjects like ferns. There was also one piece of ceramic that was not painted but had this very intricate design.
We also had some special finds! There were a couple pieces of animal bone (we’ll have to wait for lab time to see if we can figure out what animal it was) as well as two fragments of smoking pipe stems! After context 3, contexts 4 and 5 were rather sparse. Trench #4 produced much of the usual bricks, nails, glass, and porcelain.
Even our adult visitors can’t help but take a peek (photo by Linda Gosner)
The highlight of the day, however, was definitely the number of enthusiastic visitors. Sitting outside the trenches and bagging artifacts allowed for a great opportunity to show off our artifacts and, especially, to engage with visitors of all ages. The younger future archaeologists had a blast in both trenches, especially trench 4, and they were very eager to present any artifacts found. Even our adult visitors were very excited to hear about our findings and ask questions about what we’d found and why we picked this location to dig (always appreciate maps). The amount of enthusiasm for archaeology and our excavation was very rewarding.