Archaeology Blog

Field School Week 5: Happy 4th of July!

By: Joshua Ritzman and Anne Poulos

This week we continued working at Sites A and B, the potential location of a slave cabin and a stable. Remains of the building’s structure is evident in the amount of brick and nails that are being found through the course of digging and screening. At Site A we have excavated down to layer C and found a quartz projectile point, a buckle, beads, carved bone or turtle shell, a glass marble, nails, brick, and ceramic. At Site B there was an animal tooth, a white metal button, a piece of porcelain, cobblestones, a paste jewel, more brick, glass, and ceramics. There are also pieces that looked to be burned but we are unsure as to when the fire occurred.


We also did some flotation this week. It is the process of using water to collect light (the floating bits) and heavy (that sink) fraction of a soil sample. The light fraction floats to the top of the water and can contain botanical remains such as seeds. The heavy fraction settles to the bottom and can contain small artifacts such as glass, metals, ceramics, and fish bones.


On the Fourth of July there were about 1500 people that visited Poplar Forest. We were out at the site interacting with these visitors. They asked us questions about what we are doing and what we are finding. Who do you think is there? Where are you from? What happens if you find a human skull? How long have you been digging here? Where do you put the dirt? When do you know when to stop digging? The visitors were interested with our answers, one was curious to know where the graveyard was. The day was fun, even though it started out with rain and mud!