Posts Tagged ‘gallery’
April 12, 2013
Three-and-a-half short months ago our Historic Trades team raised the frame for the new Tin Shop. Some of you may have braved the cold and the pre-holiday rush to be present for that event. It may seem hard to believe, but in the coming week construction on the Tin Shop draws to a close. Once sealed with a coat of tar paint, the Tin Shop will join the Blacksmith Shop, the Kitchen, and the North Storage Building as part of the rapidly growing Armoury complex.
This week’s gallery offers a look at recent activity on the site. As you will see, the action is shared among the carpenters, joiners, and brick masons who have so ably reconstructed 4 Armoury buildings to date (3 remain!), the researchers who help to inform that work, and the many trades- and interpretive staff whose extraordinary skills and knowledge bring the Armoury to life. This is truly a team effort!
January 11, 2013
While Colonial Williamsburg’s carpenters are still hard at work on the Tinsmith Shop, the modeling team in the Digital History Center has nearly finished its virtual reconstruction. In this blog post, we bring you a preview of the building known in the late eighteenth century as the “Tin shop.”
As blog followers recall, the Tinsmith Shop is part of the growing Public Armoury complex and, once completed, will allow guests to explore the Revolutionary War period activities of tinsmiths.
But the Tinsmith shop was not always a tinsmith shop.
Archaeological evidence indicates that the building was constructed sometime around 1760, long before the Public Armoury was a necessity. It was, in all likelihood, constructed as a small, rather unprepossessing tenement, built right up to the fence-line on the east side of lot 17 (Fig.1). Located on the side of a ravine, the tenement occupied a marginal (and not the most salubrious) location. All evidence points to a low status building of cheap construction, with little by way of expensive treatments. The close-up of the reconstruction (Figs.2 & 3) shows how the tenement may have appeared in 1776, before work began on the Public Armoury. The building is a small one-room single-story tenement with very simple sliding shutter windows, and a basic set of steps leading up to the front door (Fig.2).
Within the next three years the building underwent a significant transformation. As Armoury construction began (in 1778) on neighboring lot 18, the fence separating the two lots was relocated, drawing the tenement into the complex for use as a Tinsmith Shop (Fig.4). The virtual reconstruction reflects that change. Larger windows were added to allow more sunlight (Fig.5). The interior images show how work benches were placed under these expanded windows to maximize usable light (Figs.6 & 7). The fireplace not only kept the workers warm in winter, but was used year-round to heat coals for the braziers used in the manufacturing process. The shop’s tin products: kettles, coffeepots, saucepans, and speaking trumpets, were made from sheet metal which was cut with shears, bent to shape, and the joints sealed with solder melted on a soldering iron which had been heated in a brazier.
Incorporation into the Armoury complex also meant greater security for the Tinsmith Shop. It is thought that the whole Armoury complex was bounded by a “secure perimeter” protecting the valuable arms and materials within, and perhaps serving as a barrier to escape by the prisoners-of-war who worked there. A diagonal fence was constructed, connecting the Tinsmith Shop to another former tenement on lot 17, and contributing to the Armoury complex’s secure core. Archaeological evidence indicates that by 1779 steps on the west side of the Tinsmith shop had been removed, inhibiting access to the front door since this entrance was now outside the secure perimeter. This process of controlling access to the site and buildings may help to explain why the Armoury shop was built between the kitchen and Tinsmith shop, rather than on the more open areas of the site to the south.
Removal of the steps then raises the question: how did the workers get into the Tinsmith shop? With the original door closed, and the chimney located on the building’s south side, two options remain. Either a new door was opened on the north side or an opening was cut on the east side, connecting the Tinsmith Shop directly to the Armoury building. Both hypotheses have their merits, their drawbacks, and their supporters, and unfortunately no definitive archaeological evidence has survived for either possibility. We have elected, therefore, to physically reconstruct the Tinsmith shop with a door on the north end–the configuration that allows our guests the easiest access from Duke of Gloucester Street, and our historic trades people the best traffic flow through the shop. In the virtual model, however, we will show the alternative interpretation, with access through the Armoury. That’s the beauty of the virtual world: we can visualize multiple hypotheses and the evidence supporting them! (click on images below to enlarge).
Contributed by Peter Inker, Digital History Center
December 26, 2012
Under leaden skies and whipped by a fierce December wind, our intrepid Historic Building Trades crew raised the frame of the Tinsmith Shop last Friday. If holiday activities drew you away from webcam coverage of the event, here’s a taste of how it happened. Click on images to enlarge .
September 21, 2012
We mark this last day of summer at the Armoury not by slowing down, but by picking up the pace. Next Friday, September 28th, Historic Trades Carpenters will raise the frame for the Armoury’s north storage building…a more substantial structure than its name implies (but more about that in an upcoming blog post). In November, footings and foundations will be laid for a workshop and a second storage building, while December brings the raising of the tin shop frame.
Building activity at this level requires the committment and labor of many, and as you might expect, each “raising” is preceded by hours of preparation. This week’s gallery gives you a glimpse of the activity both on, and off, the site as various trades people contribute to the reconstruction and interpretation of James Anderson’s Blacksmith Shop and Public Armoury.
-Photo credits Meredith Poole and Mark Fluehr.
July 16, 2012
With the Roving Webcam one casualty of a recent summer storm, it has been difficult to keep tabs on archaeological progress at the south end of the Armoury lot. A new camera is expected to arrive sometime this week. Until then, we offer this update on recent discoveries.
Over the last six weeks archaeologists have been engaged in excavating postholes of all shapes and sizes. In fact, it is probably safe to say that western side of Lot 18 (on which the Armoury was located between 1778 and 1780) is one of the most clearly marked boundaries that we have encountered in the Historic Area. Where one posthole was dug, there are often 6 or 8 replacement holes. As archaeologists have tackled these postholes– sorting out their order and excavating them in sequence– the Armoury site has begun to look a bit like a moonscape.
Why the determination to mark this boundary through time? We’re not entirely sure. Certainly there was a need to protect the Armoury and its contents, but the Armoury tenure was brief, and it would not seem necessary to replace fence posts six or eight times over the course of two years. One possible explanation is that the fence was erected early in the 18th century and maintained to keep wanderers (human and animal) out of the ravine that lay just west of the Armoury.
Postholes have so defined our recent work that we were delighted to discover something that wasn’t a posthole. Late last week we began digging into a large straight-sided pit that has been visible on the surface for a number of weeks. It appears to measure about 8′ north-south, and is at least that long running east-west (though that dimension has yet to be determined). It has carefully dug sides that slope gently inward toward the bottom. So far, the pit is at least 3’ deep, and contains artifacts that appear to have come from the Armoury: French gun flints, pieces of lead used to secure those flints in the gunlock, and clinker. There are also artifacts relating to other activities on the site: lead shot still attached to the sprue, ceramic fragments, tobacco pipe bowls and stems, and animal bones…the remains of meals. So what is this feature? There are a number of possibilities: it could be a very small cellar (less likely due to the sloping sides), a very large privy (this possibility was raised because it sits immediately adjacent to the Armoury privy discovered in 2000…but this would be quite large for a privy). Today’s hypothesis is that it’s a saw pit. As we dig further and learn more about this feature, you’ll be the first to know. Until then, a few pictures…..
Meredith Poole, Staff Archaeologist
April 3, 2012
On Saturday, March 31st, the Armoury’s main building (the new blacksmith shop) and the Anderson kitchen opened to the public. Under threatening (but ultimately accomodating) skies, the opening ceremonies went off without a hitch. If you were able to attend the event, you were in good company! If not, we hope you enjoyed the webcams that were positioned to catch much of the action. Below you will find some images capturing highlights of a memorable day. Clicking on the images will bring them up in a larger format. Enjoy!
Photo credits: Meredith Poole and Clyde Kestner.