by Lewis Ward
This week for Field School at Poplar Forest, we did quite a bit of traveling mixed in with our usual itinerary of digging.
For the past few weeks, we have mainly been working on 2’ x 2’ holes, at the South East Curtilage site, in hopes to find evidence of a stable. This method of 2’ x 2’ holes at 25’ intervals is part of our Phase 1 tests to determine if the site has what we believe. We found some interesting small things this week, such as our normal brick and nail findings with some ceramics thrown in. We also found some ‘big’ things of interests, like features, which can be anything from plowing evidence, post holes, or pits of varying types. We found features in two of our contexts this week, one being inside some sort of pit.
During this week, we were only out in the field for two days, the rest were spent visiting and learning about other sites in Virginia. On Monday, our students took a trip to Monticello to listen to a lecture about palynology, the study of pollen by John Jones and hear about their field school’s excavations at Site 6, and from Fraser Neiman who also provided us with an interesting lecture about how statistics are being used in archaeology.
Thursday & Friday, the students took an overnight trip to visit the Tidewater area, on Thursday we met Jack Gary, the Director of Archaeology at Colonial Williamsburg (CW). Jack Gary showed our students around their collections, how they sort them, and gave us an overview of CW’s history with archaeology. Friday, we finished off with a visit to Jamestown visiting their ‘Angela’ site; the place believed to be where the first African was brought once in Jamestown , the Archaearium; the museum of archaeology they have on site, as well as their collections room where they keep some of the artifacts found at their sites. (Unrelated to archaeology, some of our students met a wonderful skink outside Jamestown collection storage area.)