Field School 2018 – Week 7
James Hensley — St. Mary’s College of Maryland
“Sailing on the Dove”
For week seven of the Field school, we continued digging throughout the site. Four students, Mace, Eva, Patrick, and Livvy, spent the week in the archaeology lab washing and processing artifacts. This gave them experience of the whole system at St. Mary’s City: from the digging to the washing and organization of the artifacts.
On site, Kyle spent most of the week exposing a pipe from the old Brome Howard House inside his unit. He also sketched and plotted coordinates for the pipe’s location on map, with the help of his classmates. Jade and I opened a new unit; we began by removing the sod and took the unit down to the plowzone. We will excavate the plowzone next week to provide soil to screen for Tidewater Archaeology Weekend next Saturday and Sunday (Editor’s note: come help us screen for artifacts and enjoy special, behind-the-scenes tours during Tidewater Archaeology Weekend, July 21 and 22! More information available here). Other students, including Shaelyn, Moira, and Luke, continued troweling in their units.
The most exciting part of the week was Saturday when all the students went on the Maryland Dove. The Dove is a re-created 17th-century tobacco ship. We don’t know exactly what the original Dove looked like, but this is a close approximation. We spent most of the afternoon and evening aboard the Dove. First, we toured the Dove and experienced how all the parts of the ship functioned and learned what life would have been like living on ships exploring the New World.
Then we were broken up into four groups of two or three people per group. Each group worked in a certain area of the ship and handled different ropes to control how the ship is sailing, and the speed and direction of the ship. The Dove first sailed down the St. Mary’s River to around Chancellor’s Point. We then sailed in the Portobello Point/Cooper Creek area for about 2 hours. Then we sailed down to the Horseshoe/Pagan point area and spent about an hour and a half there before turning around.
One of the biggest things I personally noticed while on the Dove was the fact that we can read about the explorers going overseas, but I can now imagine the amount of hard work that would have been required to sail from England all the way to America.