Posts Tagged ‘kitchen’
December 16, 2010
Snow began falling quietly this morning, coating Williamsburg in a blanket of white. However the wintery weather hasn’t stopped work on the Anderson Kitchen. With the help of a nearby fire, the Historic Trades carpenters are working to complete the installation of the clapboard siding today. Here are a few pictures of the snowy site. The next step will be shingling the roof—weather-permitting—so stay tuned!
November 23, 2010
Welcome to our first image gallery for the Armoury Reconstruction project! Periodically we will post updates as a set of pictures showing project activities. This gallery is a series of photographs taken during the Anderson Kitchen frame-raising, which took place on November 12.
To view a larger version of an image and a description, simply click on a picture. Once the larger image is opened, the left and right arrow keys can be used to move through the series. Mousing over the left or right side of an image will also reveal a clickable arrow for moving backward and forward between pictures.
Photos by Lisa Fischer, Willie Graham, and Jeff Klee.
November 10, 2010
The raising of the Anderson Kitchen framing will now take place this Friday November 12. The team had originally planned to begin erecting the structure the middle of next week. However rainy weather is currently expected for much of next week, so the team has decided to raise the frame earlier than anticipated. On Friday the Historic Trades team will begin lifting the walls between 9 and 9:30 and expect to have all four walls erected and the ceiling joists in place by the end of the day. Although the frame-raising will take place earlier than anticipated, there will still be much to see at the site over the next several weeks, weather-permitting, as the carpenters frame out the rest of the kitchen. Please stop by the site to watch the kitchen reconstruction or follow along on the webcams!
November 2, 2010
Both webcams have moved over the past few days to provide new views of the ongoing work at the Armoury site. The Armoury cam is now in its permanent location facing south on the second floor of the Anderson House. The shed, which was “home” to the webcam for the first few months, has been dismantled in preparation for beginning the above-ground work to rebuild the Anderson kitchen. We hope this new view provides a better sense of the overall site and will provide a perspective of how the buildings relate to each other as each one is reconstructed.
With the off-site framing of the kitchen now complete, the roving webcam was moved from the joinery to the archaeological excavation site. This new location should provide a sense of one type of research that is being undertaken to help us determine what and where to rebuild. While many parts of the Anderson property have been excavated before, there are a few areas of the site where we can still learn more by digging. In its current location, the webcam shows excavation in the area around the east end of the Tin Shop. In the distance (upper right corner) you may be able to see archaeologists looking for evidence of the fences that bounded the Anderson property.
After a virtually rain-free summer, fall rains caused some delay while the kitchen foundations were being prepared. As a result, the kitchen frame raising will now take place toward the middle to the end of third week of November (17th – 19th, weather dependent). In the meantime, the masons will continue building the kitchen chimney base and the carpenters will lay the sills over the next few weeks, so there will still be plenty to see at the site (and on the webcams)!
October 21, 2010
The Armoury reconstruction project is now in full swing! Over the past few weeks the team has begun working on the kitchen, which will be the first building reconstructed. The original 18th-century brickwork for the chimney has been underpinned to ensure its stability when it is incorporated into the new building. Unlike the chimney base, the kitchen walls were “robbed out,” or removed for reuse in another structure during the late 18th or early 19th century. Over the next few weeks, the team will lay the remainder of kitchen foundation in preparation for the frame raising.
In addition to the work occurring at the new Armoury site, many of the Historic Trades sites around the Historic Area are manufacturing materials for the project. Since the summer, the brickyard has been making bricks, and in September they completed the first of two scheduled kiln firings this year (the second will occur in early December). The blacksmiths are manufacturing all of the hardware, such as hinges, locks, and nails, for the new buildings. The carpenters are assembling the frame for the kitchen in the yard adjacent to the joinery at the Ayscough House.
Several people have enquired about when the frame raising for the kitchen building will occur: it will be sometime during the first three weeks of November, with the second week of the month being the most likely week right now. The reason we are unable to pin down the exact date is that laying the brick foundations is a weather-dependent process. The shed covering the foundations has permitted work to continue during rainy conditions. However once the foundations are completed, the mortar will need at least a few days to harden before the soil around the foundations can be backfilled. Rain during that period will slow the drying process. We will monitor the progress and keep everyone posted as the schedule becomes clearer.
September 29, 2010
Archaeologists, field school students, summer interns, and a few seasoned volunteers fanned out across the Armoury site in early June with a laundry list of tasks and questions to address before reconstruction begins. As many of you know, it was not an easy summer for outdoor work. Extreme heat and a lack of rain baked the soil…. and archaeologists alike. Nevertheless, the Armoury excavation attracted tremendous visitor attention, and steady progress was made toward ferreting out new information about the property and those who worked here.
Topping the summer agenda was uncovering the Armoury’s kitchen, the first building slated for reconstruction. Though explored and recorded by two previous generations of archaeologists (in 1931 and 1975), this third encounter provided a modern team with the opportunity to examine and weigh in on the kitchen remains: a large chimney base and an arched brick drain (see photo). Brickmakers’ careful measurements became the wooden molds from which 10,000 bricks have been made for the kitchen reconstruction. Engineers evaluated the chimney base and, in collaboration with architectural historians, devised a plan to incorporate the original brick into the reconstructed kitchen. And the drain, which served to carry debris from inside the kitchen, under the yard, and into a nearby ravine, became the focus of architectural attention.
While the kitchen’s “twice-dug” status left little room for major archaeological surprises, there were bright spots. Discovery of an 18” strip of unexcavated soil within the kitchen provided evidence that the floor was of clay composition (still under analysis), rather than wood. Recovered plaster samples, according to Architectural Paint Analyst, Natasha Loeblich, revealed that frequent limewashing kept the kitchen walls scrupulously clean.
To the west of the blacksmith shop another archaeological unit probed the site’s terrain. Popular belief suggests that a deep ravine bisecting the Printing Office property once continued south through Anderson’s lots. Ravines are convenient repositories for trash, and the location of this one, adjacent to the forge buildings, raised hopes of finding discarded products of Anderson’s shop. Ten weeks of investigation by archaeological field school students has revealed, however, that the term “ravine” may be an overstatement of this terrain. While it is clear that the land flanking Anderson’s shops to the west was low-lying, and perhaps even marshy, this was hardly a formidable landscape feature. Excavation of the ravine units will continue, and the eventual discovery of blacksmithing debris remains a possibility.
Currently archaeologists can be found along Francis Street searching for postholes that marked the property’s south boundary. The challenge is not finding these soil stains, but teasing apart the Revolutionary War period fenceline (recorded on the 1782 Frenchman’s Map) from multiple generations of replacement fences in the same location.
While digging fencelines may sound mundane, the objective of this project is larger than the accurate placement and spacing of fenceposts. During the 18th century, those doing business at the Armoury would have entered through a gate on what is now Francis Street. We know little about the “front” of Anderson’s lot, an area that lies concealed by Mrs. Ryland’s wildflower garden. The search for fences, gates, and other features is a step toward better understanding how the property was oriented during Anderson’s tenure.
In upcoming months, attention will shift from postholes to the “tin shop,” a building whose fragmentary remains were discovered during two earlier excavations. Digging will continue through much of November. Visitors are always welcome!
Contributed by Meredith Poole, Staff Archaeologist