Saturday, August 14, 2010
The main feature this year has been feature 10. It is proving to be a very complex, layered feature that extends deeper than the approximate 3 feet that was excavated this year (photo 1 is profile map). Work will continue here next year and it will be very interesting to see what is yet to be revealed about the nature of this feature.
Features 60 and 61 were located in the second investigation area on the final day of work and appear to be consistent with other Pickawillany era pit type features discovered the past two field seasons. Undoubtedly they will be systematically excavated next field season.
While it was hard to pull away from features still awaiting investigation the time for shovels and trowels had come to an end. The students focused on taking additional notes, mapping in their features and on the last day filling in the units that have been part of their lives over the past 3 weeks.
We at OHS thank the students, staff and volunteers for all of their hard work. Their efforts will provide additional information on how the people lived and used the landform and improve site interpretation.
Thanks for a job well done!
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Hot, humid, sticky, icky, dirty and exciting all sum up the past two days of field work at Pickawillany. Oh, did I mention hot? Really hot??
Saturday, August 07, 2010
Friday, August 06, 2010
Upon arriving at the site Thursday morning we were greeted with the vision of our shelter which had been blown up into the trees by the storm the night before (photo 1). Fortunately for us it was not damaged and after about 15 minutes we had it back in place.
The day's big event was the public tour. About 50 people enjoyed a canal ride and site manager Andy Hite's explanation of what happened here on the morning of June 21, 1752.
Once at the excavation site, OHS assistant curator of Archaeology, Bill Pickard spoke about the previous archaeological investigations and remote sensing which helped to narrow the focus of the excavations. Then the visitors were encouraged to examine the excavations and ask students questions about what they were doing. Photo 2 is Bill Pickard talking to visitors about features 6 and 10. Photo 3 shows Dr. Ericksen from Hocking College (kneeling) investigating a recently found feature. After about 30 minutes on site, the crowd walked back to the the boat for the trip back to the museum and the field work continued. Before the end of the day pictures were taken of feature 10 (photo 4). Then soon afterward the units were covered over for the weekend. Next week will be the final week of investigation and if it is anything like last year, some of the most exciting things may be discovered so stay tuned!
Wednesday, August 04, 2010
Today it reached 90 degrees at the work site and was pretty darn humid. At one point very humid, as in rain that you can see rushing in from the west which was accompanied by "too close for comfort" lightening strikes (photo 1). The wind kicked up so much it knocked over the port-o-johns but luckily for us they didn't spill their contents and were pretty easy to put back into their upright positions.
Features 6 and 10 were opened today (photo 2). Feature 6 seems to be getting more complex and may not be just a post mould but could be part of a larger feature. Feature 10 appears to be a trash pit at this point. Artifacts from this feature today includes animal bone, flint flakes, two small white seed beads and a gun buttplate with a fleur-di-lie design (photo 3).
The second excavation area contains several features that are yet to be assigned feature numbers. One thing we did learn though; the large metal detector hit from 2002 turned out to be a Budweiser can, likely thrown in by people recovering metal artifacts from the property before 2000. Drats! However, this same feature has yielded Pickawillany era artifacts so even though the area had been disturbed in the past the feature can still help us understand how Pickawillany inhabitants lived. Today we recovered animal bone, flint, glass fragments and a nice french gun flint from this area of investigation (photo 4).
Tuesday, August 03, 2010
Sunday, August 01, 2010
A couple weeks ago seven campers (ages 9-11) took part in a week filled with archaeology! They spent the time with Martha Otto, recently retired OHS archaeologist at the Ohio Historical Center, learning about Native American tool and pottery making, the kinds of plants that were grown and how to excavate, screen, measure, map, collect, clean and draw artifacts.
They also took a day trip to Fort Ancient to see the Wright State University field school in action and had the opportunity to apply
their new aquired screening skills and helped the workers look for artifacts.
Back row (right to left): James Norton, Adam Rezac, John Cahanin, Matt Timmer, Andrew Humble, Wes Keifer (volunteer), Doug Angeloni (volunteer), Bill Pickard (OHS). Middle row (right to left): Amber Wallace, Erica MacDowell, Joseph Snider, Austin Van Meeter, Monika Smith. Front row (right to left) Bob Brown (supervisor) and Dr. Annette G. Ericksen (Instructor).
Thursday was an exciting day.
We were visited by George Strake, the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma. He was in the area working on a research project relating to the 1846 removal of the Miami from Indiana on the Wabash and Erie and Miami and Erie Canals and took some time to visit the site.
The crew opening up units on and surrounding the features discovered last year made great headway. They should have all of their units dug and be ready to investigate the features early this coming week.
The second area of investigation is already proving very intriguing. But first a little background. In October 2002, Bill Pickard, volunteer Dan Bartlett and I were doing a systematic metal detector survey of the Pickawillany area to see if we could find artifact concentrations that would pin point where the traders had their cabins. Dan had one strong signalled hit that we have since affectionately call the "Dan-banger". We started digging down to the hit and at about 20 cm below surface the signal kept getting stronger but we noticed we had encountered what looked to be feature fill so we ceased digging hoping to come back at a later time to properly excavate the feature.
Fast forward almost 8 years. In the last couple days of digging in the plow zone above the feature we have found flint flakes, fire cracked rock, a brass arrow point, animal bone fragments, a brass vent pic (gun part) and buckshot (photo 2). On Thursday the 2 x 2 meter unit disclosed the feature. You can see a darker brown soil rimmed in orangish soil on the upper right side of photo 3. On the bottom right side of the feature you can see our 2002 round metal detector hole. The feature appears to extend outside of the excavation area so new units will be opened to help define the extent of the feature. Could this be a cooking pit that was later used as a refuse dump or is it a trader's cellar? Whatever it may be, more will be revealed this coming week and we'll keep you posted!