Sunday, September 22, 2013

Much Overdue Update!

The end of summer and the beginning of fall have been very busy! With the start of Temple University’s semester at the end of August, public excavation came to and end. However, due to all the rain cancellations this summer, the dig timeline was delayed and not all testing concluded. Consequently, a bit more excavation needs to be completed before the site can be officially closed. As digging is finalized, returning volunteers will be invited back to help wrap up the excavation. 

If you recall from the last post, we left off finishing up the shovel test pits in the back lot behind 124 and 126 Elfreth’s Alley. During the last public dig days in August, we opened up a 5 foot by 5 foot excavation unit in the vicinity of shovel test pit 10 which is located approximately 10 feet south of the brick patio behind the row houses. During shovel testing, this area yielded a wide array of historic artifacts and contained layers of historic fill. Shovel test pit 10 was excavated to a depth of approximately 2.5 feet below ground surface, but historic deposits appeared to be continuing deeper.

An excavation unit, Unit 14, was placed in this location to further test the historic matrix. Excavation of the test unit has revealed further evidence of layers of historic fill spanning both the 18th and 19th centuries as well as two historic post features. 

Unit 14 after heavy rain
post mold feature

Several buttons were found in the initial fill deposits, including the civil war button with an eagle featured on it pictured below (unearthed and accurately identified by a faithful volunteer!) along with other bone, metal, and shell buttons. 

Civil War Button

Additionally, a large number of straight pins have been recovered from the throughout the unit. Although the pins have yet to be processed and counted, the current estimate is close to a hundred straight pins! 

As the weather gets colder and the days get shorter the excavation site will be closed for the season. Artifact processing in Temple University’s Anthropology lab will be staring soon! Returning and new volunteers are invited to assist with artifact cleaning. If you are interested in helping with processing feel free to contact Deirdre at and check back soon for details about dates and times!