May 18th: Big pieces of wood

Detail of 100.T1. To the left is the trough. To the right are the sloped north-south planks with a series of east-west boards overlying them.

May 18th saw work progressing in both trenches 100.T1 and 101.T3. 101.T3 continued to be basically a methodical and systematic exercise in removing buckets of dirt with little gain (unless you count dozens and dozens of nails as gain-some would-for my interests-not so much). We knew that since there was a major elevation change between this trench unit and the two above it (100.T1 and 100.T2), that the natural pull of gravity and the trenches sloping profile would mean that a lot of sediment would have been deposited here over the years, meaning that a lot of earth would have to be moved before reaching features like those found in 100.T1. It was frustrating for the students working in this trench at first, but believe me, their diligence would be rewarded in a few days.

100.T1 continued to present itself as a challenging but fruitful excavation. The first feature mentioned in my last post (NE corner of trench) was clearly identified as some sort of working surface constructed of wood planks running north-south. We left a few centimeters of sediment on top of the wood as this helps preserve it. Since we knew what it was, there is no sense in damaging the surface more than you need to. At the end of the field season will may uncover it more for photos and a possible laser imaging scan.

Boards running east-west were also uncovered the day before, and their uneven alignment and size made for a more difficult identification. It was decided to work around them as it might help clarify things. Instead, the students struck another series of planks (at a 10 degree slope no less) running north-south again. These planks were very smooth and traces of copper residue were found lying atop them. The previously mentioned east-west aligned boards were not in contact with these new planks, but were separated by about 10 cm of sediment.

One last thing… between both sets of planks running north-south there was evidence of a long trough bisecting the entire trench. 100.T1 was getting more interesting (and complex) by the minute.

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About Sean Gohman

Currently a PhD Degree seeking student in the Michigan Tech University's Industrial Heritage and Archaeology program.

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