2017 Week 9

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Field School 2017 – Week 9
Alexa Olivares — St. Mary’s College of Maryland


“Preparing for Tidewater Archaeology Weekend!”



Field school student Sam Sisay pointing to a 17th-century fence line running through one of our excavation units


During Week Nine of the Historic St. Mary’s City Field School in Historical Archaeology, students and staff worked hard at ensuring a successful and fun Tidewater Archaeology Weekend. In order to make the event run smoothly the archaeology students were tasked with collecting as much soil as possible from the units previously excavated. In addition, we opened up a few new units for excavation, close to the foundation of the Leonard Calvert House. The first few days of our work week was comprised primarily by screening the remaining soil from the past week, and saving new soil in bright blue tubs. It was tough work dragging full tubs of soil across the site, but everyone did it with smiles on their faces, looking ahead to the upcoming Tidewater event.


During this time we unearthed a few interesting artifacts worthy of note. A beautiful wine glass stem was uncovered by Field School student Kat Weber; we also found numerous ceramic pipes and two halves of a white glass bead.


All smiles under the tent for Tidewater Archaeology Weekend, despite the messy weather



Unfortunately, the forecast for Tidewater Weekend was not looking good. Despite the rain, and wind, and general gloominess, we still had about 80 individuals come and help us screen under rather awful conditions on the Saturday of Tidewater Weekend. This surprising turn out made the day go by more smoothly.




Field school student Kat Weber (right) and Field Assistant Sarah McCoy (center) screening for artifacts with an enthusiastic visitor

The second day of Tidewater Weekend, Sunday, was a phenomenal success. The beautiful weather brought in loads of people from all over the east coast who came to our site eager to aid in our archaeological process. We got the opportunity to answer people’s questions, entertain enthusiastic children, and find some very cool and rare artifacts. Field school students and members of the public helped in finding two William Evans pipe stems, various sherds of Native American pottery (always a very exciting find), lead shot, tons of bricks and architectural artifacts, as well as sherds of tin glazed earthenwares, Rhenish stonewares, and many more ceramic types dating as late as the early 17th century.


Overall Tidewater Archaeology Weekend was an interesting and fun way for all sorts of people to have a first-hand experience what we do on an archaeological site every day, while assisting and promoting the archaeology currently being done at Historic St. Mary’s City.



Ralph Batykefer — St. Mary’s College of Maryland


“Digging towards Tidewater Archaeology Weekend”



Field school student George Kemp and Kat Weber excavating a unit in preparation for Tidewater Archaeology Weekend


The field school had a busy week preparing for Tidewater Archaeology Weekend. We started off the week by mapping out new units on the north side of the Calvert House while continuing work on closing out previous units around the northeast corner of the site, and on the edge of an animal baiting ring in the north yard.


To prepare for Tidewater Archaeology Weekend, we had to dig up the plow zone of the two new units and set it aside to stockpile dirt to allow the public to screen for artifacts on Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday, we started off the weekend with some subpar weather. It was very wet, windy, and chilly. The weather decreased the number of visitors that came out, but nonetheless people came out to help us screen under our tent.


Field school student Madeleine Mathias screening for artifacts with Tidewater Archaeology Weekend visitors


Tidewater Archaeology weekend could not have ended any better. The day began with the most beautiful weather we have seen all summer, mid-seventies and low humidity with a side of sunshine.



Field school students Caitlin Connolly (left) and Stephanie Stevens setting up the total station prior to mapping in new excavation units

The first screen I helped with for the day, two little boys pulled out two William Evans pipe stems, which featured maker’s marks that said “WIL EVANS” detailed with decorative incising. It was extremely exciting and a great start to a beautiful day. The weather brought out a large crowd and some of our team had to continue digging in the new units to keep up with the high demand for soil. The day went on without a hitch and we met various members of the community who got to get their hands dirty with us on the screens and be a part of our project.


The class is now heading into Week Ten and we are looking forward to closing out some of our units and completing this fun but rigorous program that has helped us gain many skills.