March 25, 2013
Back in the Pit.
Recently, the Roving Webcam has been covering early weeks of the 2013 archaeological season at the back (or south end) of the Armoury property. This spring’s project picks up where archaeologists left off last fall, with the exploration of a large, rectangular pit feature that we are tentatively calling a sawpit. Whether or not that identification holds water remains to be seen.
Archaeological excavation is not always easy to decipher, and so for those of you wondering what has been taking place over the last three weeks, the following serves as a bit of explanation. The image above (looking a little like a Rorschach test) shows the site as it appeared on Friday afternoon, before the late March snow and rain. (We hope that it will eventually dry out so that it looks this way again!). You should be able to see a variety of colors…predominantly brown, but with some variation. Below, the same image identifies modern “features” that have been removed in recent weeks as archaeologists have made their way down to earlier chapters in the site’s history. Among the intrusions are 2 modern fencepost holes filled with cement, remnants of diagonal trenches dug in 1941 as excavators engaged in early efforts to find brick foundations, and two backfilled archaeological units dating to 1975.
This week we will turn our attention to a few interesting forms that that have just appeared. If your eyes are quite good, you may be able to use the unmarked image at the top of the page to identify the outline of the remaining “sawpit” fill extending northward from the 2012 sand backfill (hint: it’s easiest to see along the east side where it seems to be lined in black). If not, we have dotted the edges (in the image below) of what we believe to be the pit’s extent. Over the course of the next few weeks we will be excavating the fill, layer by layer, to see if the “sawpit” diagnosis seems plausible, or whether this hole proves more cellar-like in the final analysis.
Also intriguing is a rectangular area west of the sawpit which appears to be filled with brick rubble and artifacts. In the image above it is marked with a “?” ….which sums up what we currently know about this feature. It was a mystery in 2012 when we encountered the same “shelf-like” extension cut into the side of the pit (see white arrow, in the image below). Perhaps the next few weeks will provide answers. As we get deeper… literally, and figuratively….into these questions, we will provide updates on what we’ve found, and what it tells us.
Meredith Poole, Staff Archaeologist.
Funded by a generous gift from Forrest E. Mars Jr., of Big Horn, Wyoming.