One More New Excavation Unit to Go

The very last excavation unit was opened over the weekend just above (and to the north) of 101.T8. This unit was put in as a 2×2 meter unit, with the idea that we would uncover more of the large wood beam that designates the division between the stamp room and wash house, as well as get a look at the wood box uncovered in T8 a week prior (and discussed in the July 5th post).

In there somewhere is a wood box. You can see the wall clearly on the left. The right side is covered by wood rubble, sediment, and a small iron pipe that's threaded. We first thought this was in situ but discovered it was just lying loose on the surface.

Chris and Meghan excavated with trowels knowing that wood features were just below the surface. Artifacts discovered were large iron bolts, a threaded iron pipe with another pipe fit inside it, and lots of nails (there’s always lots of nails). Lying on top of all of this was quite a lot of wood rubble as well, though not in positions or conditions that spoke to their purpose or original context. The box that began in the north end of 101.T8 was found to extend another 80 cm north, where it then abutted the large wood beam discussed in the previous paragraph. The eastern end of this box continued out the east side wall so we’re not sure its entire length but suffice to say, its a big wood box. At this point, our best guess is that it is part of a jig or settling tank.

We know that in the mid-1860’s the Cliff installed 4 Asmus’ Patented Automated Jigging machines. These machines were 11 ft. square, 4’6″ long and  2’4″ wide (this fits pretty nicely the dimensions we have so far for this box if you think of the outside dimension as the length and the inside width as the wide measurement given). Now this could very well be wrong but these are the kind of leads you must follow in order to make sense of what you’ve uncovered once you get back to the lab/office to do the write-up.

The beam extends nearly all the way across the unit (we're looking west here). Its abrupt end is met by a stone on its end, though on its north side by another large wood beam. Note the mortise joint notched in at the to of the picture.

Aside from the box, the large beam was found to end about 30 cm from the east side wall. Now we should be able to measure a total length on that beam. also found in the beam was a very nice mortise joint notched in near the west side of the unit. This is likely a post hole mortise joint for the i-beams supporting either the was house’s north end or the stamp mill’s south end (or both). Set in behind the beam and making a corner was another beam, though for now it’s not well enough defined to understand what is all going on here. We’ll have to come back to this discussion in a later post.

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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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