Exploring Unit 2, Opening Unit 4

Before we were bombarded with some serious hail this afternoon, we managed to make an interesting discovery in Unit 2 and to begin excavating a new area, Unit 4. I use the term “we” loosely; these results are entirely attributable to Ashley, Erika, and Jordan.

Burned clay surface in Unit 2.

Yesterday in Unit 2, Ashley and Jordan removed the dark sediment that seemed to represent a pit in Unit 2. They only found a few sherds in the fill, but portions of the bottom of the pit seemed to be lined with burned clay (above). Though it was mostly empty when we excavated it, the pit may have been used in the past for storage.

Backyard Units 3 (by the tarp and the cherry tree) & 4 (by the tripod), with Jordan and Erika.

While Ashley cleaned, mapped, and photographed Unit 2, Jordan and Erika opened a new unit overtop an broad magnetic anomaly; we suspect it might be a midden. The artifacts in this sort of feature could tell us the sorts of activities (cooking, eating, tool production, etc.) that occurred near the mound and the possible ditch/earthwork that we will excavate in July. Though they only made it through the plowzone today, Jordan and Erika already found more potsherds here than in any other context, so we think we’re on to something.

All this time, I continued to toil in the ever deepening Unit 3. Here, we’ve identified a line of burned posts around a very deep pit that is filled with charcoal and burned daub. Hopefully, by the next blog post, we’ll have a better idea of what it represents.

About Alice Wright

Alice is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Appalachian State University. She tweets about archaeology, Appalachia, and cats @alicepwright.
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