Field School 2015 – Week 9
Erin Crawford – Towson University ‘15
“Buttoning Up the Site”
As the 2015 field school comes to a close, we have been working hard to get as much excavated and recorded as we can. Our week started with finishing up a large portion of mapping.
Keeping accurate records of where we dig, what we find, and the stratigraphic layers allows us to go back and analyze everything we have excavated. My experience with archaeology consists of two internships prior to attending this field school, but this was my first chance to record features!
We use a total station which allows us to get the exact coordinates of the features and objects to complete a plan view drawing. Each type of artifact has its own standardized symbol that is used on all of the drawings, and these maps are kept as a permanent record for the analysis of the site.
This week was especially eventful considering we had our normal work days, as well as the annual Tidewater Archaeology Weekend. This is an opportunity for the public to help find artifacts and get a real inside look at what it takes to be an archaeologist. Public outreach allows us to get people interested in learning more about the history of Maryland, and of Historic St. Mary’s City.
The children enjoy finding things that have been buried for many years, and the adults get a better sense of the significance of artifacts when they physically see them coming out of the ground.
Some of the artifacts that we found this week have been typical of ceramics found on the site, such as sherds of Porcelain, Rhenish Blue and Gray Stoneware, and various Tin-Glazed and Lead Glazed ceramics. Two small fragments of nicely decorated 17th-century German Stoneware were found this week, with a sprig-molded decoration and manganese coloring added.
This week we also found some unusual artifacts, with the most notable being a wide array of buttons, all of which likely date to the 19th century.
Two shell buttons were found, one with a metal loop (known as the shank) still attached, and the other is a two-hole sew through button. An interesting four-hole button was also discovered. Initially we thought it may be made from bone, but after looking closely we discovered writing on the back.
This is likely made from hardened rubber, which is a process patented by Charles Goodyear in 1851. At the Calvert Site bone buttons are a fairly common artifact, but discovering the shell buttons was rather exciting since they are found less frequently.
Erin Crawford is a graduate of Towson University where she majored in Anthropology. She is interested in pursuing a career in Forensic Anthropology.