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Field School 2015 – Week 4
Ruth Mitchell


“Map Time”



We spent our week wrapping up excavations in the Farthing’s Garden area.  After removing the plowed deposit over two large areas we carefully troweled down the subsoil to search for cultural features.  We found a number of natural features that are likely tree root related.



Small features that are likely root related found below plowzone


Students visiting the tenant house at the Spray Plantation


It seemed to rain nearly every night after the site was packed up, so we spent a lot of time bailing out the area! Water management is an unfortunate part of the process, and we carefully cover the site up to protect from heavy rain storms and to protect the site from being baked out too much from the sun.



Early in the week we visited the Godiah Spray Plantation. This is a recreated tobacco plantation at Historic St. Mary’s City, and there are a number of barns and other buildings that are present on the landscape. These buildings provide a great place for students to learn about how 17th-century structures were put together.  Archaeologically, we find what was left below ground and in order to understand what these features mean it’s important to learn what the buildings were like above ground. There are various architectural elements at the Spray Plantation that are essential in understanding the larger Chesapeake region architecture.





Erin Crawford and Anna Olson work together on a plan view drawing


The students spent some time working on their mapping skills, learning how to set the map up on the drawing paper and how to plot out the points.  The maps are completed with special shading marks and particular symbols used for a key to the drawing. It usually takes a little time to figure out how to plot the maps, but everyone seems to be picking the skill up at a decent pace.


Arthur Rubio completing a plan view drawing of features





The Field School advertising for Tidewater Archaeology Weekend



On Saturday Historic St. Mary’s City hosted the Beerfest, an annual fundraising event. Lissa Tenuta, the field assistant, helped the students set up and staff an archaeology table.  This gave us a great opportunity to talk about archaeology at St. Mary’s City, and to pass out flyers and let people know about our annual Tidewater Archaeology Weekend (July 25th and 26th).  During this special weekend we invite the public to help us excavate, and we will be working on the Calvert site during this years’ event.