Sunday, July 1, 2012

Week Three Recap

We concluded our third week of excavation yesterday and have kept the momentum going.  This week work continued on Units 6, 7, and 4. 

As mentioned in the last post, Unit 6 is in the pathway between 124 and 126 Elfreth’s Alley.  So far five features have been identified in this one 3'x3' unit.  This week we uncovered three features (features 6, 7, 8) along the western wall of the unit.  These features "cut" into and disturb one another which tells us that they were not present at the same time.  For instance feature 6 cuts into feature 8, indicating feature 8 was present first and feature 6 was dug into it at a later date.  These features represent how the landscape of the back lots was continually reshaped by the residents.   Feature 6 is a post feature; during excavation we recovered many fragments of wood from it.  The wood remnants were likely a part of a fence that ran through the pathway and divided 124 and 126.  The features in Unit 6 are important because they tell us how the space behind 124 and 126 was organized, and in this case divided, during periods of the properties’ history.

Unit 7 is placed on what would have been in the interior of back building behind 124.  As this unit is excavated we have encountered a destruction level similar to the one found in Unit 3. The artifacts, though, are different than those found in Unit 3.  Unit 7 has produced many more flower pot sherds and large metal fragments than Unit 3.  We have not reached the bottom of the destruction level and will continue excavation this next week.

Unit 4 is located directly south of Unit 1 which was opened last summer.  Unit 1 has a stone foundation in the center of the unit as well a brick and mortar foundation on the east edge of the unit. Both of these walls were unearthed in Unit 4 as well.  This week, we focused on excavating the eastern portion of Unit 4 which is bounded by the stone foundation to the west and the brick foundation to the east. In this small area, builder’s trenches associated with the walls were identified. A builder’s trench is a trench dug in which to lay foundation stones or bricks during construction of a building.  Artifacts recovered from the builder’s trenches have the potential to help us identify the periods of constructions of the walls.

Builder's trench (darker brown color) visible to left along brick wall.

These three units are aiding us in the analysis of the back lots of 124 and 126.  They speak to the building, destruction, and reorganizing of the back lots during their 300 year history.

Excavation in progress.

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