Photograph by Jason Shellenhamer.

Field Notes from Herring Run: Reconstructing the rooms in the farm house

Thanks to Lisa Kraus and Jason Shellenhamer for this update from day 3 of the Herring Run Archaeology Project dig. 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.

Photograph by Jason Shellenhamer.
Photograph by Jason Shellenhamer.

The work at Eutaw continues on Day 3 of our second field season. By the end of the day we completed excavation in three new areas on the perimeter and interior of the former plantation dwelling. Testing in all the units within the house’s former cellar continue to produce similar artifacts that one might expect from a house that burnt down in 1865 such as nails, brick, mortar.

However, each area we explore in the house also produced several distinct groups of artifacts that are not found in other areas. These subtle, yet important distinctions have allowed us to start a preliminary reconstruction of the location and uses of various rooms within the former farm house.

Photograph by Jason Shellenhamer.
Photograph by Jason Shellenhamer.

For instance, all of the expensive white, gold leaf porcelain dinner plates and tea service have been found near the northwest corner of the home, but those same artifacts are absent elsewhere in the house. Given that a dinner party occurred at the time of the house fire, it seems likely that the presence of those ceramics in that area alone may suggest the location of the family’s formal dining room, or at at the very least a pantry where the family kept their formal sets of dinner service.

Photograph by Jason Shellenhamer.
Photograph by Jason Shellenhamer.

Other locations we explored so far provided other insights into the uses of other areas of the home, including the formal front entrance, kitchens, and side entrances.

Photograph by Jason Shellenhamer.
Photograph by Jason Shellenhamer.

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