By the end of the week at Garden Creek, we made quite a bit of progress on Units 2 and 3, especially considering how hard and dry the clay was before Thursday’s much needed rain. To recap, these units not only generated intriguing magnetic signatures during the magnetometer survey, but also yielded materials suggestive of ancient occupation when cored with the soil auger.
About 30 cm below the ground surface of Unit 2, we encountered flecks of charcoal and burned clay (the small black and orange spots in the photo above), so we carefully cleaned the floor to expose the tops of possible burned features. In the end, we found at least two and perhaps three burned postholes (one in the southwest corner of the unit, and another right next to the auger hole), as well as the top of a probable pit in the southeast corner. Next week, we will excavate the pit in hopes of finding artifacts that will tell us what was going on in this area. We are also going to excavate a few more 1×1 m squares nearby, to see if there are additional postholes that might form the outline of a structure.
In Unit 3, again about 30 cm below ground surface, we found another feature with evidence of burning. The soil here is very dark brown, with lots of charcoal and burned daub. By opening up a second 1×1 m square in Unit 3, we were able to find the curved edge of this feature (above); it stands out pretty well against the more orange, natural background soil. The feature extends all the way into the adjacent unit, though we have yet to find another edge. Next week, we’ll excavate this feature as a separate context to determine its function — is it a burned living floor, a very large pit, or something else?
Last, we were pleased this week to welcome Jordan Worley to the crew. Jordan is a student at nearby Pisgah High School, and now that his exams are over, he is working part time for GCAP. His excavation skills are becoming well honed after only two days in the field. We plan to keep him (and us!) busy with the excavations of these and other units in the upcoming weeks.