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Field School 2015 – Week 8



“Smoking, gaming and getting locked up!”

Ruth Mitchell



The field school spent the first part of the week on a field trip, where they were given remarkable behind the scenes tours by a number of colleagues who were gracious and generous with their time.


Rouletted Agate decorated tobacco pipe, likely made in Maryland



We had a couple of exciting artifact discoveries this week, although we were only in the field for three days. A small fragment of an Agate decorated pipe stem fragment was discovered. Using two different types of clay, this pipe was further embellished with three rows of roulleting. Fragments of this type of pipe have been discovered at the Calvert site in previous years, and these are very similar to types found at a kiln site in Anne Arundel County. Emanuel Drew, a 17th-century pipe maker, was known to live and carry out his trade on Swan Cove. These pipes date from ca. 1650-1669.




Colonial Period key, made from Iron


Bone die

The discovery of an iron key got everyone excited, as it is an intact object and despite the corrosion is very recognizable! The key likely dates to the colonial period, but until we get it cleaned up and treated in the lab, there isn’t much we can report on.



Perhaps the most exciting find of the week is a bone die, and although they found one last year (and other bone dice in previous years), everyone on site was thrilled with this year’s find! Dice would have been used during the colonial period (as well as today) for games and gambling, and are frequently found on sites that were once used as taverns.





“Field Trip Down Memory Lane!”

Arthur Rubio – St. Mary’s College of Maryland ‘16


For the first two days of this week we took a break from digging at the Calvert House to visit Jamestown and Williamsburg in Virginia. With the perspective gained from seven weeks of digging, we had the opportunity to see how Archaeology is applied at different sites in another state. Archaeology is inflexible in its principles, but individual sites require variations of methods and application.


Archaeology on Jamestown Island


I used to live in the same county as Jamestown. The last time I visited was in 2003 and I was excited to go back. The changes there are tremendous to say the least. In 2007, a massive gallery was built inside the visitor’s center of Jamestown Settlement which contains exhibits detailing the history of the Jamestown settlement from 1607 to the late 17th -century. The gallery serves to educate the public about 17th-century Virginia and how people lived. This includes the Native Americans, the settlers and the African slave population.


On Jamestown Island we visited the archaeological site where they have been excavating for the past 22 years. This year they are working on a structure related to the 17th-century fort period, and they believe there is a well located there.



Jamestown Island, with the Church and Tower

We saw the results of a lot of archaeological work, and we learned about the starving time in 1609. Archaeologists discussed their discovery of a 14 year old girl they have named “Jane”. Forensic analysis of the skull suggests that acts of cannibalism occurred there during the starving time.


During our visit to the archaeology lab in Williamsburg, I was surprised to learn that they have been conducting archaeology since the late 1920s. We had the opportunity to see a number of amazing artifacts stored in their facility.



The Archaeology Lab at Williamsburg


While visiting the field school excavation on a 17th –century site in Williamsburg, we were able to observe differences in their soils, unit size, stratigraphy and the equipment they use.



An interesting stone feature at the Williamsburg excavations


While in Williamsburg, we visited the Bruton Parish Church (built ca. 1711), and while observing the brick walls of the standing building, we were able to tell what renovations and additions had been made over the years.
I could go on and on at length about how awesome this trip was. This week’s annual trip was a real treat, a nice break from work for us, and a splendid trip down memory lane for me. We have learned so much in the past seven weeks, but as students once we begin to acquire knowledge on a subject our tendency is to want to know more!




Arthur is a senior at St. Mary’s College of Maryland where he is studying History and Film. He is interested in pursuing History and Law Studies in the future.