Burned plaster from Eutaw House, Herring Run Park Archaeology. Photograph by Lisa Kraus, 2015 May 11.

Field Notes from Herring Run: Getting to the bottom of the Eutaw House cellar hole

We are continuing to share field notes from Lisa Kraus and Jason Shellenhamer as they lead our archaeological dig in Herring Run Park. Read on for Lisa and Jason’s second journal entry – dated Monday, May 11, 2015 – or look back at yesterday’s update and our gallery of photos.

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.

2015 May 11
Stone wall and cellar hole, 2015 May 11

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.

2015 May 11
Volunteers moving dirt, 2015 May 11

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!

2015 May 11
Lisa trying to figure out Unit 5, Photograph by Jason Shellenhamer, 2015 May 11

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