As the final week of field school began, we finally got an answer to the question of what happened to the fort palisade as it left the northwest bastion of Pope’s Fort. During excavations in the 1980s, the palisade was seen to be cut through by a modern oil tank. Over the past few weeks, we have excavated the features and plow zone south of the oil tank. On cleaning the area, it was obvious that the palisade emerged from the oil tank area and turned to the east.
It was seen to join a fence to the east, which we had mapped in previous years. What kind of defense the north wall of the fort had remains a mystery despite finding the palisade. Where the palisade turns, it is about six feet south of the inner edge of the fort ditch, which conforms to other areas of the fort. However, the fence which it joins is at an angle to the ditch and within 15 feet, the fence is 12 feet south of the fort ditch. The solution to this mystery will not come from more archaeology but by detailed research on English Civil War field fortifications.
In this area, we continued to find numerous pieces of Native American pottery and two more projectile points.
The small point on the left is termed a LeCroy point, the second found this summer, and dates to the Early Archaic period (c. 7600-6000 BC). The other point is termed a Bare Island point and dates to the Late Archaic – Early Woodland periods. There seems to be a very strong concentration of Early Woodland materials in this particular area.
Most of the week was spent in completing the two units began on Tidewater Archaeology Days in the midden southwest of the Calvert House. These units continued to produce eye-catching artifacts. A large number of ceramic pieces were found, including a large rim sherd of a North Devon, gravel-tempered, earthenware pot.
This type has been discussed several times in previous weeks but this is the biggest piece we have found.
Another artifact which made us gawk was a large piece of fireplace tile.
This is a tin-glazed tile with blue painted decoration. Tiles of this type were found in the 1980s excavations and reproductions were used in creating the fireplaces on the site. Having found this tile fragment, I took the students over to the fireplace and laid the artifact on the reproduction, showing them to be duplicates.
On almost the last day of excavations, I was sitting at the picnic table when suddenly the entire crew erupted in squeals and excited shouts. Within moments of each other, they found two beautiful and exciting artifacts in the midden. The first was the neck of a Rhenish brown stoneware jug, known as a Bartmann bottle.
These bottles are famous for the faces molded on the neck, a detail of which is shown in the photo. Usually, we find very small pieces of this type of artifact. To find the whole neck with the face intact was very special. They are generally thought to date to the 17th century and were used to transport wine and spirits.
The second artifact was a remarkably preserved white clay tobacco pipe.
This pipe is notable for two things. First it is the longest preserved pipe I have ever seen. Secondly, it has wonderful embossed decoration along the stem. Archaeologists often tell themselves that the artifacts are secondary to the information gained by excavation. Still there is something special to be holding a masterfully made artifact that would still be recognizable to the people who used it. Based on the decoration and the size of the bowl, this pipe was most likely made in the Netherlands in the 1640s.
This year’s field school was small in number but worked hard and achieved significant discoveries.
I want to thank each of them for their efforts and contributions to our understanding of the 17th-century town. They more than upheld the traditions of field schools past.