2016 April 28

Field Notes from Herring Run: What can you learn from a builder’s trench?

Thanks to Lisa Kraus and Jason Shellenhamer for this update from day six and day seven of the Herring Run Archaeology Project. You can find their updates on our blog, the project website, and on Facebook. You can also subscribe to the project email list to read these posts in your inbox.

2016 April 29
2016 April 29

We’ve continued working on both the Eutaw manor house and the earlier part of the site over the last two days, and we’ve learned a great deal in a very short period of time.

In the manor house, we discovered a mysterious pit near the southwest corner of the foundation that contained two complete wine bottles and several pieces of eggshell.

2016 April 29
2016 April 29

In the northeast corner, we’ve identified a builder’s trench. This may not sound very exciting, but it’s a significant find: the builder’s trench usually contains only artifacts that date to the time of a building’s construction, which allows us to put a firm date on a structure. This builder’s trench contains artifacts identical to those we’ve found in the earliest part of the site, where the Broad family lived from circa 1680 to 1740! This reveals two important facts: the first is that the Broads may have lived where the Eutaw manor house once stood, and that their home was displaced when Eutaw was built. It also allows us to positively, indisputably identify the Eutaw manor house as the building that was present from the 1760s until 1865—no later house took its place.

2016 April 29
2016 April 29

In the earlier part of the site, we’ve identified a trash midden containing domestic trash dating to the time of the Broad occupation – 1680 to 1740. This has revealed important new clues about life in the early colonial period in the Baltimore area – a time period about which we know very, very little. Amidst a truly huge number of oyster shells, we found a delicate china teacup, a Chinese porcelain bowl, numerous pieces of stoneware tankards and jugs, wine bottle glass, and clay pipe stems.

2016 April 29
2016 April 29

Tomorrow is our public day, and the last day for excavation at this tremendously important site! We hope to see you at the Archaeology Open House tomorrow, April 30!

2016 April 29
2016 April 29

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