June 10th: Trying to Reach Bottom… Again

Closed photo of 100.U1. The large beam is running across the bottom of the photo.

100.U2 highlighting the tar paper found in the void that likely housed another mortar box.

While we waited for the green dye to reappear from below the mill (it never did), we continued working in 100.U1, 100.U2 and 101.T7. In all three cases the aim was to reach the bottom of the unit. In U1 and U2, the limited size of the units meant that this would be difficult. In 101.T7 the problem was that a huge wood plank sat in our way.

100.U1 housed an end-grained wood mount that was severely damaged either due to metal detecting or more likely, when the equipment that sat on it was removed. The students excavating here (Eric and Kim) were tasked with reaching the bottom of the unit and identifying any structural support beams or planking like that found in 100.T1. They very quickly found that the features in 100.T1 continued in 100.U1, and that one particularly large beam (at least 50 cm wide and tall) found in the south half seemed to be the main foundation support for the stamp room’s heavy machinery. The unit was closed that day and photographed and drawn.

100.U2 also contained the large beam in its south half but before we reached the bed rock bottom of the unit, we first had to remove a large piece of tar paper with roofing nails still attached. We’ve discussed this tar paper before and know that it most likely came from Warren’s mill, and meant that anything found below it was deposited before 1925.

In order to even attempt finding the bottom of the wash house, we first had to remove a large wood plank overlying half of 101.T7. This plank was likely structural at some time, but at this point we can’t ascertain its origin. All we know is that its huge and heavy. We sawed the plank out after first photographing it and making a drawing of the trench unit while it was still in situ. Afterward, we used shovels to dig downwards through a level of stamp sand hoping to reach either a floor or floor joists. This would take a few days to complete once we started as the unit trench became more and more complex.

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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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