This week’s update on the progress of excavation group three comes courtesy of ANTH60a student, Jennifer du Breuil. Jennifer is a Brandeis University undergraduate student majoring in Classical Studies.
Today was a chilly, rainy day out here at the McGrath Farm site, yet we faithfully headed out with our trowels and buckets, eager to find more artifacts and to see what our site has to offer us today.
The end of the previous week’s work had left us with a bit of a puzzle. Our unit has had a lot of charcoal in it. Last week we hit a new level in our unit, where either side of the site is black with charcoal and the middle is soil that is much more yellow than the level above it. We were not sure whether this could indicate a feature or not, so this week saw us expanding our site from 50cm x 50cm to 1m x 1m. We are hoping that this expansion will shed further light on what is going on, and whether we have a feature in our unit (a feature is an artifact that cannot be removed from the field without changing its nature; e.g., a posthole).
We spent the majority of the day taking out the topsoil of the expanded unit and sifting through this soil for any artifacts. This was quite a challenge given the weather! Much of the topsoil was completely soaked, which made it difficult to sift and distinguish artifacts from small rocks and clumps of mud. Out topsoil layer of the expanded unit saw a great variety of artifacts, including glass, pottery, faunal remains, metal and brick. After we finished with the topsoil level, we conducted closing elevations before starting on the next level of soil. We will continue on this level next week, and will hopefully be able to determine what the charcoal and yellow soil in our unit is indicating.