Tuesday, July 7, 2009


So we woke up and did the normal thing: shower, breakfast, and meeting in the atrium. We picked up out sack lunches for one of the culmination events of the SEI program. We were going to dig at the old King's Farm site. The site was home to the King family until the late 40's when Sewanee bought the area and bull-dozed the site to the ground. Our main excavation focus was at the cellar site, where most of the artifacts were to be found. We were seperated into three groups when we first go to the King's Farm site. One went to a former dump, another was to dig shovel test sites that might lead to later full excavation areas, and the last group went to the cellar site where the archeology was already underway.
At the dump site, we set out into three smaller divisions. Kyle and Sean started a 1 by 1 meter test area where they dug up the soil and sifted it with these big screens in search for glass, pottery, china, and other various dump items. Gaby went out about 15 meters and walked in a giant loop around the entire dump site in search of interesting artifacts. Jane searched through the main dump site. The test area group didnt find much other than some shards of broken lightbulbs and an interesting bead. Gaby found some really interesting water jugs and teacups around the perimeter. Jane found an old Coke-a-cola bottle and a whisky bottle with the top still attached (sadly for us, no alcohol).
At the shovel test sites, each group that rotated through did a 1 by 1 foot digging where they went to the B horizon (the bright orange clay material). The material taken out of the pits was screened out and the items were collected. Will Noggle found a bunch of nails in one hole, but that was probably the most interesting finds. Most other people found small bits of glass, clayware, or pottery. After the digging and sifting was done, we filled in the holes (so the little deer didnt break their legs or anything). The plan was to have both groups A and B dig around 16 to 20 test holes to see where future, larger-scale excavations were to be made.
Lastle, the large cellar excavations site was everybody's favorite because of the "loot" they found. The site was sectioned off into three areas with different depths at one of the areas. The digging consisted of around 4 or 5 people digging and scraping at the soil with trowels. Once 10 litres had been dug up and put in a bucket, the dirt would then be sifted out and the smaller goodies would then be uncovered. A ton of things were discovered at the site. An old 1930-1940's toy car was unearthed along with some matching pieces of china, a knife, and some other silverware. A ton of other things were found, but it is simply too much to list.
After the collecting, we went and brought the artifacts to a lab where we washed and seperated everything onto plates. It was rough and tedious, but we survived. After that, we went along to dinner at McClurg and ate our various food. After dinner, we went back to the lab, took up the artifacts to another lab. We documented most of the artifacts and looked up dates and cross compared them from the cellar to the dump. Most of the things in the dump and the cellar were closely related time-wise, but we've only been at the top of the cellar, not the bottom where most of the original King's Farm items are. But that was the field activity for Monday. Group A will be repeating what we did tomorrow, except for the dump area. The archeology was really interesting and we all learned a lot about the King's Farm homestead.

-Sean Altendorf

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