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This blog follows the reconstruction of the Revolutionary War Public Armoury on the James Anderson site

Reconstruction of the Blacksmith's & Public Armoury

January 13, 2012

A Fresh Perspective.

Current "roving webcam" view of excavation inside the tin shop.

“Roving webcam” viewers may have noticed that they are no longer in the Armoury building!  On Wednesday morning this movable camera was relocated to focus on new excavation inside the Mary Stith Shop.

As many of you know, archaeologists spent the majority of 2011 trying to determine whether a building that stood in this location served as the Armoury’s tin shop between 1778 and 1780.  We now feel confident that a building in this location did, indeed, house Nathaniel Nuthall and the other Armoury tinsmiths, and we are beginning the process of rebuilding this 1940 reconstruction.

Before the building can be renovated, all remaining archaeological evidence will be recovered, which is what you see archaeologists working on.  Unfortunately, we are not the first to dig here.  In 1932, excavators addressed the same bit of land, hoping to find brick foundations in the narrow trenches dug for that purpose.  We have good images of that activity, as you can see below.  They were successful in their search, and by 1940 the Stith Shop had been rebuilt on the basis of those foundations.  Regrettably (because of the way the site was approached) no one knew how the building was used in the 18th century…until now.

Archaeologists read history backwards.  We begin at the ground’s surface with evidence of recent events, and work our way back toward evidence of the 18th century.  This week you have been watching Andy, Mark, and Meredith re-excavating the trenches dug in 1932.  Those trenches look different from the surrounding soil, and must be removed as modern intrusions.  As the weeks progress, you’ll see us working back through successively older phases of the site’s occupation.  By the way, the foundation wall that should be visible on the webcam is a 20th century structure…perhaps a chicken coop.

The tin shop excavation is the first “indoor archaeology” we have attempted.  The lights are on, as is the heat!  The project will last approximately 5 to 6 weeks, and depending on what we find, we may keep the roving webcam in this location for the duration.  At the very least, we will keep you posted about what we’re finding.   Please ask questions!

1932 trenching in the same area.

 

 

 

Note: It has been brought to our attention (by one webcam watcher who recently visited the tin shop excavation) that the Roving Webcam does not give an accurate sense of  what is happening around the edges of the excavation.  True, we have a sink and a microwave at our disposal, but conditions may not be as swish as that admission might imply!  The images below provide a better sense of how the site is set up.  The second photo shows the location of the webcam on a pole near the left edge of the window frame.  

Mapping the site from within the tin shop.

 Contributed by Meredith Poole, Staff Archaeologist.

Tin shop excavation showing webcam (next to window).

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  

Update: February 7th

Excavation inside the tin shop is quickly drawing to a close. In fact, we anticipate that we will be finished by week’s end (Feb 10th). Over the last 5 weeks our digging in this small unit has revealed (sequentially): 1) Colonial Williamsburg’s 1940s reconstruction of the shop, 2) the 1932 search for  this building’s foundation, 3) plow scars from the property’s agricultural use after the Civil War, 4) thick deposits of brick rubble — evidence of the fire that destroyed this building (and most others on the block) in 1842,  5) relatively clean (or artifact-free) layers that accumulated before the original tin shop was built (ca. 1760), and at the bottom, 6) what we call “stable ravine fill”– the natural, loamy accumulation in the bottom of this low-lying gully.  You’ll notice that there was no mention of tin shop activity.  That’s because the building had a wooden floor, allowing no accumulation between 1760 (when the building was constructed) and 1842 (when the building was destroyed).   Although this is a shame, it is what we expected.

This week we have been removing the next-to-earliest layer (see #5, above), representing the first couple of decades of the 18th century. There are very few artifacts in it…mostly animal bone, a few ceramic pieces, and an occasional nail. The image below shows a few of the more interesting finds from a 1 meter square. See if you can identify the pig jaw, tobacco pipe stems, delft (ceramic) fragments, a bit of wine bottle base, and our most unusual find: half of a silver shoe buckle.

A few of the artifacts recovered February 7, 2012.

 February 9th: The tin shop excavation has now been completed.  Because it makes such a nice picture, and because the chapters in a site’s history are rarely so well defined, we’re including a final image showing the tin shop’s stratigraphy. 

North profile of the tin shop excavation.

Funded by a generous gift from Forrest E. Mars Jr., of Big Horn, Wyoming.

Comments

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  1. Just to clarify. They are now digging under the existing buildings floor?

    • That’s right, Matt.

      The present building is a 1940 reconstruction with a reinforced concrete subfloor, and a wood floor above. Both of these were removed before our project began. Our hope is to learn something about the lay of the land before the tin shop was built, a more accurate date for the tin shop’s construction and, if we’re really lucky, we may find a thin deposit of items/debris that filtered through the tin shop floor boards (due to the known slope of the land, we’re pretty certain it had a raised floor.

  2. did the 1932 group list the things that are in the box in the photo?

    • Margaret,
      Great question. No, these “fish crates” contained a sampling of artifacts from each site…usually just 1 box per property, and generally more unusual artifacts that caught the excavator’s eye.

      We still have many of the artifacts saved in this manner. They are labelled by property, but unfortunately have lost all other contextual information (which is the long way of saying that they really don’t tell us as much as we’d like them to.) As I look at the picture above, what first catches my eye is the rim of a chamber pot…the large white-looking vessel along the left side of the box!

  3. Meredith…I thought those early trenches ran at 45 degree angles from the property lines. These appear parallel to and 90 degrees from Duke of Gloucester.

    • Sharon~
      You’re exactly right! Those trenches did run at 45 degree angles to the street…beginning in 1938 (the Wythe property excavation). Prior to that time, while excavators were experimenting with techniques, the trenches ran at 90 degree angles, sometimes missing fragmentary foundations.

      The Stith excavation (1932) was one of those early projects. We are having to adjust our expectations as we encounter features that don’t look quite right the way we expect them to!

  4. It is good to see the archaeologist getting some prime time recognition. I will be watching enthusiastically.

  5. Will the current building be demolished after the dig is completed or “re-purposed” based upon the findings?

    • Phil,
      I think we’re trying to keep our options open. There are a number of factors that will be weighed, among them: the cost of moving the Stith shop and (more importantly) what condition the building is deemed to be in. It has been well-used!

  6. I assume that once the investigation of the site is complete the Stith building will be replaced with a reconstruction of the Tin Shop? Will this be a working tinshop? I believe that the last actually working tinshop was at Old Salem and that this has been shut down for a number of years.

    • Jim, you are correct. This excavation will culminate in the reconstruction of a tin shop, and the introduction of a new trade at Colonial Williamsburg. In the words of Ken Schwarz, our Master Blacksmith, the Armoury’s tin shop will be “the only reconstructed and working eighteenth century tinsmithing operation in the United States. Tradesmen will demonstrate the manufacture of camp kettles, plates coffeepots, lanterns shot cannisters, speaking trumpets and a variety of tinware was produced for Virginia militia and Continental troops from 1778 to 1780.” Quite an exciting event for us!

  7. Watching the current dig, I see what look like sandwich bags. This must mean somethng of significance has been found, but what is the purpose of the red ribbons?

    The top layer of soil looks darker than the underlying soil. Is the result of the chicken coop?

    • Dave,
      Yes, we go through our share of plastic bags! We place not just things “of significance” in bags, but pretty much anything we find. At the moment we are finding a lot of late 19th-early 20th century artifacts…everything from nails to wine and medicine bottles to ceramic sherds (yes, archaeologists call them “sherds,” not “shards”), to animal bones. This morning we found a couple of clay marbles and pieces of what seems to be a late 19th century candy dish with inpressions of quarters in it.

      The flagging tape you see are some of our grid points. Once we get below the 20th century layer that we’re working on, we will measure the site into 1 meter units, and collect the artifacts from each unit in separate bags. This allows us to keep track of the distribution of various artifacts.

      As for the layer colors, you are right, the top layer is a deep loamy brown, with flecks of brick, shell, and mortar in it. The color is probably just a function of the activities that contributed to the layer’s formation (it looks like there was some building destruction). Some of the successive layers do appear to be lighter. We will take soil samples as we go along just to see if there is any significance to the color changes.

  8. Is the trench seen on the webcam from 1932 or a new trench, i.e. a place to stand? Thanks….

    • Eric,
      The trench was originally dug in 1932, and reexcavated (by us) last week. It also provides (as you point out)an excellent place to stand. We flip a coin to see who gets to dig the “trench-side” units!

  9. Is there any evidence this building was existing on the neighbors property prior to being converted to a tin shop? Do you know who owned the property and could this be a case of 18th century eminent domain on Tory property for War effort? I may be letting my imagination take over but it seams to me odd if your going to build a new building it would not be on the same lot as all other buildings.
    Thank you for great coverage on web cam and this site.

    • Basil,
      You are right on target. This building did exist on the neighboring property before the Armoury was built. In fact, that is one of the most perplexing aspects of the Armoury’s construction…that a 24′ wide space (between the kitchen and the tin shop) would be selected for construction of a 22′ wide Armoury.

      While we know that the building that would become the tin shop was standing prior to Armoury construction, we don’t know who owned it, or how it was used. The chain of title goes cold between ca. 1740 and 1785, when Mary Stith purchased part of the property (via George Reid) from the College of William and Mary. Land that was (as you suggest) relinquished by Loyalists became the property of the College, and so it seems not a far leap to assume that during the Revolution, this lot bordering Anderson’s Armoury was confiscated and became public property. It was likely made available to Anderson for his expanding industry.

      It is gratifying to have blog readers ponder the same questions that we are sorting through. Thanks for your insights!

  10. Meredith…I’m curious about the pitcher-shaped excavation near the foundation wall.

    • Sharon!
      (Had to go check the webcam image…it doesn’t look like a pitcher from in the hole!)

      The excavated feature that you mention is a posthole…fairly modern, and quite deep. It was likely part of a fence, although we have found none of its “mates” to date.

      We have spent this afternoon excavating plowscars, the V-shaped striations left by plowing, probably in the late 19th or early 20th century. It’s difficult to imagine a property in the Historic Area under agricultural cultivation (at whatever scale), but we know, both from documents and from physical evidence like these plowscars, that there was a great deal of planting in this urban setting, especially after the Civil War.

      It’s always good to hear from old friends! Thanks for your question.

      • Meredith,

        I could postulate that the post hole was not one of a line of posts. Instead, it may have served as the post to which the pole vise was affixed in the tin shop.

        Mike Lynch

  11. I’m coming in late on this discussion and a lot of questions have already been answered. I’m excited for CW that you now have confirmation of the Tin Shop location! We will be visiting over the Easter break. I hope you will still be doing some excavation then. I’d love to see what’s happening up close and personal and meet those of you working hard to build on what we already know about our ancestors.

    • Mimi~
      Welcome back! If we’re still working inside the tin shop at Easter then we’ll have found something very unexpected, indeed! The expectation is that we will be able to finish this project sometime around mid-February…though it’s difficult to estimate time when it comes to archaeology.

      There is still excavation to finish elsewhere on the property, so even if you don’t find us at the tin shop, you stand a good chance of running into us somewhere at the Armoury. If so, I hope you’ll introduce yourself!

  12. First, thanks for the webcam! It’s great, I enjoy all of them but yours is particularly fun. I would encourage CW to do more if possible. Two questions: is that a second posthole I see? Also, it looks like you have a tool which looks like pruning shears, which seems odd for archeology. Thanks!

    • Russell,
      Ah! You are very observant…there may be a future for you in archaeology! That IS another posthole, but it’s not related to the first. The first posthole showed up (cut through) a layer that dates to the 20th century. The second one did not appear until the mid-late 19th century layer. So they are from two completely different periods. Quite frustrating to have two “single” posts…though it happens to us all the time!

      As for the pruning shears, you are right in your identification. Those are root clippers, and we use them to trim the root hairs growing up through each layer. Helps to maintain a tidy site!

      • Thanks, Meredith! Another question. How much soil do you typically get through in a day? And how deep do you think you will need to dig at this site?

      • Russell,
        Great question! How much dirt we get through in a day depends on what we’re digging. In the last few days we have been removing evidence of an 1842 fire that burned the entire block on which we are working. No kidding. The whole block, save one house. The fire debris is mostly brick and ash, and that goes pretty quickly. I’d say that on certain parts of the site we went down 8-10″ yesterday.

        Today we have been uncovering a thin layer of clay that overlies just part of the site. It’s a little illusive…thin in some places, diving in others. This was once a ground surface, and so we want to uncover it consistently to get a good sense of what the landscape looked like. I’ll bet that we uncovered less than 1″ this morning. Does this mean that we got more accomplished yesterday? No. We just moved thicker soil layers.

        Looking at the profile of soil layers showing up in the 1932 trench, it appears that we have about 18″ left to dig, much of it in thick, uncomplicated (we think!) layers. Screening for artifacts (something that happens off-camera) will take some time, but the digging part should move quickly!

  13. Hi Meredith…my question is similar to Russell’s. It appears you are getting down into a layer containing more artifacts. It’s hard to tell from the webcam what all the white items are that we are seeing. What have you been unearthing these past few days? I too am loving being able to “dig” along side you…almost as good as actually being there!

    • Sharon~
      Most of the white items you are seeing are oyster shells. We are taking out a layer that is full of oyster shell and brick chunks. But you’re right, there are other artifacts as well. Lots of wine bottle glass, some animal bone, and ceramic fragments which (as you know!) are our best dating tool. So far the most recent ceramic we have found in the layer we are digging is creamware, first manufactured in 1762. We know, therefore, that our “olive-gray layer with oyster shell” was deposited AFTER 1762.

      What is slightly unnerving for us as archaeologists is that, because we are digging inside a building that had a wooden floor, there is no soil build-up between the mid-1700s (when it was constructed) and 1842 (when the building was burned to the ground. Over the last 2 days we seem to have dropped a whole century…and we’re now studying the artifacts to get our bearings!

      Glad you’re enjoying the webcam. We’re getting used to it!

  14. Good morning Dig Crew,
    As others have said, it’s great being able to watch the process.
    Could there be more post holes, of both time frames, in the other room(s) of the building? Once you’re finished in this room, will you dig in the other(s)?
    The burning down of a block in 1842 is an interesting find. Did you know about this before the Tin Shop dig? How much of the town burned? Do you know the owership of the buildings that burned? I know with the moving of the capitol in 1799 to Richmond, the records may not be as complete has any of us would like. Being from the Chicago area, we had our own little fire back in 1871. As bad as it was, it was I believe, good for the city. It gave the citizens a chance to make the city better. Have you seen any signs of this? Did the citizens replace or build better structures after the fire?
    Please give “Lady” Eleanor a scratch behind the ears for me. She seemed to enjoy that a few years ago when I met her.
    Have a great day,
    Chris

    • Chris,
      It is possible that there WERE more postholes elsewhere under the floor, but we are planning to stop at the current bounds of our excavation. There is a partial cellar (for utilities) under the north end of the tin shop reconstruction, so any evidence in that area would have been destroyed. Also, while archaeologists record every period of a site’s history, any postholes in this area would either pre-date, or post-date tin shop construction, since the tin shop had a wooden floor (remember, all of that space would have been covered during the tin shop’s tenure).

      As for the fire, yes, there is mention of this event in a few family documents, but it is especially apparent in the devaluation of land (as recorded in the land tax records) in the aftermath. The fire started, we believe, in the building that we know as the Anderson House (a reconstruction) and apparently burned every structure on the block with the exception of the house on the southeast corner …a building we call the Barraud House. Redevelopment seems to have been delayed until after the Civil War. And yes, we know who owned the houses that were burned.

      Life could not be better for Eleanor. She is well-fed, and well-scratched behind the ears. Though you may not be able to see her on the webcam, she spends her days patrolling the edges of the site….and catching up on her sleep.

  15. Meredith, having met and talked with you last spring, it is exciting to watch the dig progress. I wish I could be there and get my hands dirty too. Have you found the remains of any tools as you dig?
    Dick

    • Dick,
      These are some good digging conditions! Not only has January been mild, but I’m embarrassed to say that we have heat and light inside the tin shop as well. It doesn’t get much better!

      I had to pose your tool question to our archaeological conservator, Emily Williams. Tools, when we do find them, are generally in poor condition, and quite corroded. When it comes to metals, it is often only after x-raying that we know what we’ve found. Emily does not believe that we’ve found tools in great abundance. She indicates that there is still some x-raying to do, but the only obvious tool so far is a set of shears, which are not likely from the Armoury. It is worth considering that the Armoury may not have been in operation long enough to do much damage to the tool supply.

  16. Meredith…this morning (Monday) I noticed a sandy-colored area you were working on…only in a portion of the layer though. This afternoon, that layer has been removed and I don’t see as many artifacts. What time period do you estimate you are in now?

    • Sharon~
      Interesting that that layer looked sandy…it FELT mighty clayey, and full of marl (fossilized shell). Not terribly pleasant to dig. You’re right, that layer didn’t cover the entire excavation. We did discover, however, that it dove under another layer of ash at the west end of the site. So what you saw us doing yesterday was backing up, removing the ash first, then resuming excavation of the clay. Both layers are now gone, leaving us on a layer of relatively clean (in archaeological terms that means fewer artifacts!) silty loam.

      Strangely, the silt (like the clay and ash above it), contains creamware, the ceramic indicator that we are still in a “post 1762″ time period. We expected this layer to be earlier than that, so this is a bit of a puzzle. More to come!

  17. Meredith,
    Your very generous with your time answering our amateur questions after working in the dirt all day. If this building had a floor it might have been a office or residence before the Tin shop. Either way it was a substantial building that probably got trashed during it’s use as a work shop. Not surprising there is little evidence under the floor, I wonder if the floor got swept occasionally and there is a trash pit somewhere very near by the original door.

    • Basil~
      This is actually an extremely gratifying aspect of my work. I enjoy answering questions.

      You’re right about the earlier use of this building. An office or tenement are two of the options we are considering. Of course its original function will play into the building’s design…at least to a degree. If it wasn’t built as a tin shop, we may want to give it a more generic character… perhaps with some modifications to make it a serviceable shop. Interestingly, the tin shop then went on to become a dwelling, so its uses covered the waterfront!

      A trash pit outside the building was exactly what we were looking for last summer. It appears that most of the tin shop trash was dumped into the ravine, north of the building. And interestingly, the tin scrap that we did find seems to have been deliberately collected and buried, in batches, in discrete holes. Evidently this was a particularly sharp bit of waste, and may have been considered dangerous to the feet!

  18. Hi Meredith,
    As I watch I have become curious about putting names to the faces I see. I looked on the CW website for some “mug shots” and bios but didn’t find anything – did I miss something? Please add my thanks for taking the time to answer all our questions & keeping us up to date on progress!

    • Hi Russell~
      You’re right, we tend to be shy about posting mug shots and bios. There are 3 of us working full time in the tin shop at the moment: Andy, Mark, and I. I am the one without the beard (!). Andy looks very wise…as does Mark, but Mark is the youngster!

      • Hi Meredith,
        I understand about the mug shots & bios, I was hoping I wasn’t being too nosey by asking. I did have a pretty good idea which one was you :-) Thanks for ID’ing your colleagues. It must feel odd at times knowing you are under the ever watchful eye of the webcam, but on the other hand, you now all have a fan club :-). Best of luck with your continued work!

  19. While enjoying the layer by layer report on the “Dig” what is taking place next door? I haven’t seen a report in about a month.

    • I can fill folks in on the progress next door. In the last month we have sheathed the inside of the armoury in wide poplar boards, built and finished the winder stair, and we are currently building the doors for the “hatchway” which is located in the ceiling of the shop just inside the double doors. This hatchway gives easy access to the attic space for storing bulky material like musket stocks and boxes and plank.
      We are also building the blacksmith’s workbenches – sturdy benches with 3″ thick oak tops. There will be a bench under every window.
      We will soon be installing the bellows and hanging the shelves. The armoury is basically finished, save a few details, and the push is now to furnish it so the smiths can move in and start work there.
      The joiner’s shop is busy building the furnishings for the new kitchen and musket crates for use of the armoury.
      The bricklayers have finished a foundation for the wellhead we will be building next month, and very soon we start making building materials for the storehouse just south of the main armoury shop.
      Even though visitation is slow this time of year there are a lot of things going on!

  20. Hello Meredith and Andy,

    I knew if CW focused a webcam on the archaeological work at the tin smith site there would be a great response which is evidenced by the many comments on the blog. Much of what I see looks familiar, i.e. the soil layers and thier colors, the artifacts, the post holes and the diligent dedication all of you have. Hopefully, the webcam will stay on the site until the work is completed.

    Ron

    • Thanks, Ron,
      Glad to know you’re keeping an eye on us! Our work inside the tin shop is moving fairly quickly. We hope to be through in the next 10 days or so…barring any unforeseen circumstances. After that, we’ll return the Roving Webcam to the Armoury work. Something for everyone!

  21. Hi Meredith,

    I was wondering about the small, square, shallow hole nearest the trench. At first I thought it was another post hole when I first saw it appear a few days ago, but now I suspect it has some other purpose. Thanks!

    • Hi Russell~
      Like you, we’ve been wondering about that small, shallow hole! And also like you, we’ve reached the conclusion that it was likely a hole for a post (it had a small “mold” …the stain indicating placement of the post)…but for what? As you say, it’s just a few inches deep (though it may originally have been deeper, based on a feature just above it). For now we are noting it, placing its date around mid-19th to early 20th century, and remaining patient while waiting for a larger pattern to emerge!

  22. Shifting gears a little bit. How are things going on inside the armoury? Is all the wall siding up and did you use tongue and grove or a lap beaded joints? Also the flooring up stairs was plywood to begin with, has it been replaced? Last what kind of lighting will be used in both the armoury and tin shop.Great job on the dig,we are loving it!

    • Hi Kerry – The walls are sheathed now, inside and out…beaded, feather edged boards on the outside, wide poplar horizontal sheathing on the inside, and the brick noggin in the stair is in place. All of the the plywood is gone, and the attic floor is in place. We are actually fitting the hatchway doors right now.

      There will be no artificial lighting in the main room of the armoury. We know that the tinsmiths were making lanthorns there, and we know that the Williamsburg Public Store was providing boxes of candles for the site, but I suspect that like most workshops of the day the work was limited to daylight hours. It is very difficult to do delicate work such as weapon repair by the flickering light of a candle…That is what we will show in the new shop when it opens up in April.

      • Garwood

        Do you have a date for opening in April? Hoping to make a trip in April and wouldn’t want to come ahead of opening. I’ve been watching it every day since last April. Need to plan ahead.

      • Dale – we will have our official opening Easter weekend, which is April 6, 7, 8. Can’t narrow it down any further than that at this point, but we will formally announce opening day on the blog and the website, so keep watching for it.

  23. You’ve got a lot of collection bags laid out this morning – does that mean you’re finding interesting things?

    • Russell,
      Those are soil sample bags. We take samples of each layer (and from within each meter square) to look for pollen, phytoliths (fossilized plant cells), and changes in soil chemistry. From this, we are able to get a sense of environmental change through time.

      This process has been very useful as we work on our virtual model of Williamsburg, in that we are able to demonstrate how wet or dry an area was over time, whether a property was open or tree-shaded and damp, and whether a particular lot was well-maintained or overgrown and weedy. These are the sorts of details that can be hard to capture.

  24. Meredith…I’ve been meaning to ask a question about the orientation of the site for several days. With the camera’s position, we are seeing two walls, but no doors or windows to help us get our bearings. Could you tell us how these walls relate to Duke of Gloucester? Thanks…Becky and I will see you next week!!

    • Sharon,
      The wall you see along the left side of the webcam image is the north wall, aligned with Duke of Gloucester St. That means that the brick wall dead ahead of you aligns with the Armoury…in fact, the Armoury west wall is just a little over a foot away from that brick foundation.

      I realize that the webcam shot does not give you the best perspective on what we’re doing, however the space is very small! Each time the archaeologista disappear from view we are either taking notes while standing over the unit, or screening dirt just outside the door of the shop. Both of these activities are beyond the webcam’s reach.

  25. Hi Meredith,

    Thanks for answering my previous question about the soil collection. Now you’ve got me wondering again – it seems like you were just now collecting some discrete objects into bags…

    • Russell~
      You picked up on our efforts to assist the laboratory staff by sorting artifacts in the field. We’ve been putting ceramics and glass; (food)bone and oyster; and nails into separate bags because each of these materials requires different treatment. Separating artifacts in the field helps speed the artifact processing stage (though it certainly increases our consumption of bags!)

  26. After watching some of the outdoor excavations during various visits last year, it has been fascinating to learn about the ongoing work inside the tin shop. Thanks for posting the additional pictures which add so much to the webcam perspective.

  27. Hi Meredith & everyone,
    While I’m glad to see that you successfully finished, I will miss your tin shop dig webcam! When might we see another archaeological dig webcam? Thanks again for all your responses & the recent additional photos & descriptions.

    • Hi Russell~
      Thanks for the positive feedback. Not everyone enjoys watching archaeology! I too will miss the tin shop excavation. It was an interesting project with a good group of colleagues.

      Next on our docket is a brief archaeological survey on the edge of the Historic Area (not good subject matter for the webcam!), and then some office time to write up the results of both projects. We hope to return to the south end of the Armoury property in early summer, however. If so, you may find us on the webcam again.

      • Hi Meredith,

        Will the reports (or summaries of them) be posted on the website? Best wishes!

  28. Russell,
    A summary might be a good idea. If you’ve ever seen an archaeological report you’ll know that they spare no details (!), but for those who have watched this (brief) project from the start, it might be interesting to have a condensed version of what we’ve learned. We’ll work towards that. Thanks for the suggestion.

  29. Hi Dig Crew,
    I’ll miss you folks. In looking at the last shot of the Tin Shop floor, I am wondering what the small pieces of “white” are? Maybe, ceramic of some sort? Or just a different color of clay/soil? I also would like to see a write-up on the whole project with more photos.
    Where and when is the “brief archaeological survey on the edge of the Historic Area” going to take place? What will you be looking for? And why this particular spot in the Historic Area? Will you start a blog with a few photos, every now and then, for the new dig? I hope so. I hope you have good weather for this project.
    Stay warm, take care,
    Chris

    • Chris,
      Your wishes for continued good weather are certainly appreciated. Never has it been so pleasant to dig in Williamsburg in February!

      Our upcoming survey will take place near Colonial Williamsburg’s Visitor Center. The need to install bollards to light the path raises the specter of mechanical digging in areas that could be historically sensitive. At present, we are aware of nothing that should impede that installation, but we are required to do a survey in advance … just to be certain. We will be looking for any evidence of human activity (ie artifacts), from prehistoric through the present day. This is a precautionary measure, and is one of those rare times when archaeologists HOPE to find nothing!

      As for the white spots, you are welcome to join the pool and place your own bet. We interpret the layer as the undisturbed (17th century) fill of the ravine. I place my money with my colleague Andy Edwards, who speculates that the white squiggles may be evidence of early crayfish travels within that ravine!

  30. The pig jaw is interresting to me.

    Did domestic pigs have tusks during the 18th century, or was the jaw from a wild boar?

    Was there that much wild life in the area? I would think most of the wild life would have been taken by hunters.

  31. I’m so glad the snow and rain has been minimal this year. I’m sure it make the dig easier. While following all the history you’re finding, I was wondering if there are any families within Williamsburg that are still there from the original families?

  32. Hi To The Archaeology Staff,
    The tin smith work was interesting and I enjoyed every moment. My wifa and I plan a visit in June. Where will we be able to find you? I await more information on your conclusions. Thanks for the webcam views.
    Ron


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