Photograph by Eli Pousson, 2015 May 15.

Field Notes from Herring Run: Excavating the immediate aftermath of an oyster picnic

Here it our latest in the series of field notes from archaeological dig at the Eutaw Manor and Mill complex in  Herring Run Park. Read on for Lisa Kraus and Jason Shellenhamer’s fifth journal entry – dated Thursday, May 14, 2015. Don’t forget to join us this weekend for the Herring Park Park Archaeology Open House – Saturday and Sunday!

As of today, we have discovered three of the walls of Eutaw House. Jason placed several exploratory test pits on the southern end of the site and this afternoon, exposed the top of the south wall. The south wall is located approximately 60 feet from the north wall, so already we know that this is a substantial structure. If we find the east wall, we’ll be able to figure out the building’s size, orientation, the arrangement of some rooms in the house, and the likeliest locations of other features like chimneys and outbuildings.

Oyster midden, 2015 May 13
Oyster midden, 2015 May 13

Lisa and her crack squad of volunteers excavated the oyster midden this morning. This little trash pit was exciting, although it contained relatively few artifacts compared to other spots across the site. It was a shallow pit, approximately 4 feet in diameter, filled with oyster shells and a handful of historic-period (ca. 1770-1820) artifacts. The oyster shells are likely the remains of a single meal, and we can tell that once they were discarded, they were completely undisturbed until we found them. So the oyster midden represents a moment in time, the immediate aftermath of an oyster picnic preserved for hundreds of years.

Only three days left! Today, we’re hunting for the east wall of the house and will begin to explore more of the yard space. Plus: is the mysterious depression on the western edge of the site the foundation of a small outbuilding, or something else entirely? We hope to find out over the next few days.

 

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