A Week Beginning with Rain: Ruth Martin’s Week 2

by Ruth Martin, VCU student

And so the second week of field school began with rain. On Monday morning all of the field team went out ready to work. We uncovered the site – pulling back black waterproof tarps by removing the concrete blocks that held them in place. No sooner had we gotten all of the metal equipment out of the shed and toolbox than it started to rain. The rain came down in increasingly heavier waves, so we covered the site back up again. We then tried to wait it out underneath the magnolia tree, where we dragged all the metal equipment to protect it. Eventually we got soaked through, and called it a day.

Tuesday was our field trip day(it’s also our lab so no one had go in this week). We traveled to Montpelier- the place where the father of the Constitution, James Madison grew up and lived. We were given a tour of the mansion, then walked around the grounds. Placed on top of the soil near the mansion were replicas of the framing of the slave quarters. The wooden frames were placed on top of the soil to prevent disruption in the soil record and well as the use of recycled shredded tires as a walkway.

Afterwards we checked out the ongoing site. We even got to visit the lab. In the lab there were drawers that could be pulled open, inside there were artifacts displayed and labeled.

Inside the Montpelier lab at the artifact display drawers.

Inside the Montpelier lab at the artifact display drawers.

The 4th of July, Thursday was a little crazy.  We –the 9 field students–weren’t used to having so many people on site. Normally there are only a few visitors per day, so it was exciting to see so many people interested in our work at once.

This week Stephanie and I didn’t get too far in our layers, we are still in our antebellum layer. Though our antebellum layer seems unusually thick. We found a few interesting things such as a square coroner of glass, a piece of pipe stem, a white ceramic that is possibility piece of a tea cup handle and some beautiful pieces of quartz. By Friday we were finding an increasing amount of olive colored glass, an indicator that we are close to the colonial layer.

Ceramic fragment and part of a pipe stem.

Ceramic fragment and part of a pipe stem.


 Piece of quartz.

Piece of quartz.


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