The top zone of ditch fill

The earthwork ditch as of Saturday afternoon. The northern portion of the ditch has been excavated down to the base of the top zone of ditch fill. We will excavate the southern portion (top right of photo) to this same level before removing the next zone of ditch fill. In this middle, yellower zone, you can see a scatter of dark brown post holes that have yet to resolve into an intelligible pattern.

The excavations of the ditch enclosure at Garden Creek continued into this weekend, culminating in the photo above. Although we still have more of the top zone of fill to remove in the southwest corner of the excavation block, we have exposed the middle zone of fill across about two-thirds of the exposed area.

As shown above, in the presently un-excavated portions of the ditch, the top zone of fill is a dark, gray-brown sediment that stands out sharply from the surrounding yellow clay. Intermixed with this sediment, we found some brushed and check-stamped Connestee ceramics and a fair amount of mica, from fingernail sized fragments to 10 cm long sheets. We’re currently wondering if these fragments represent the refuse produced by the manufacture of special mica artifacts within or nearby the enclosure.

Rock column in the middle of the ditch.

In addition to these artifacts, the top zone of fill also included at least three vertical columns of small rocks, roughly evenly spaced through the center of the ditch (above). We have cleaned one of the columns pretty thoroughly to show the vertical stacking of the rocks, but we have left the others roughly pedestaled to be cleaned later, once we determine if there are additional clusters further south in the ditch. Our best guess now is that these were large postholes that were dug into the filled-in ditch, and later filled with rocks after the posts were removed. Of course, this idea is more than open to revision (particularly if other archaeologists have any ideas!). What we are sure of is that this ditch has a complex history of construction, infilling, and post-infilling architecture, which we hope to learn more about in the upcoming week.

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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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One Response to The top zone of ditch fill

  1. Pingback: Earthwork update | Garden Creek Archaeological Project

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