We had two goals when we arrived at the site this morning: the first was to get to the bottom of the Eutaw House cellar hole, which we accomplished! It took all day, but dedicated digging by volunteers Kasey Johnson and Ernie Dimler helped us expose the cellar floor, which turned out to be native bedrock.
Now we have a much better understanding of the sequence of events that followed the burning of the house in 1865. We continued to find pieces of serving dishes and teawares amid the rubble today, which is of particular interest given what we know of the history of the Hall family, who lived in the house when it burned. They were preparing to host several guests in honor of a young family member’s christening when the house caught fire. Many of the plates and teacups we found in the rubble were likely set out in anticipation of that happy event.
Our second goal was to figure out what was going on in a test unit placed near what would have been the center of Eutaw House. Instead of uncovering a continuation of the cellar hole, which would not have extended across the entire footprint of Eutaw House, we discovered what appear to be remains of an earlier structure. We’ve been finding artifacts of slightly earlier date in this location, but not very many of them. We haven’t yet answered our questions about this complex area of the site – in fact, we have even more questions than when we started – but we’ll be tackling all of these as the work continues this week.
We’re also expanding the dig to include areas that would have been located outside Eutaw House, and will be trying to identify other spots that could contain intact remains of the house foundation. So there’s lots of interesting work to come!