by Ruth Martin, VCU student
The fourth week of field school burned hot. On Monday, Ryan and I started our antebellum layer. We found a lot of artifacts. Which consisted of a ton of nails, some ceramic shards, and cool pieces of metal. The most notable among the metal bits were a backing that most likely belonged to a button, a huge flat piece that was part of a can, and flat circular piece with a square cut in the center. At first glance this piece looks similar to a Chinese coin, however, tit is instead probably a washer or some early version of one.
By the end of the day Ryan and I had dug out most of the antebellum layer and were flattening/cleaning up our unit for the transition to the colonial layer.
On Tuesday, it was time for Stephanie and I to go to the lab. I enjoyed my time in the lab. It was a nice change of pace. In the morning Stephanie and I were taught how to clean artifacts with a toothbrush. we were shown into a washing room with a big glass window, this was so visitors could watch us clean the artifacts. Occasionally visitors would walk by and if they were interested in what we were cleaning, we held up some of our more interesting washed artifacts, such as a cassette tape! Later we tried our hand at labeling. This task was not as hard as I previously had imagined. Though I had assumed that we would be required to write the tiny labels. Instead we used pre-printed labels.
The next day, after our lab adventure, all the field students spent Wednesday in Washington DC. In the morning we explored the zoo. During lunch we signed into a huge glass building. While there Dr. Ruth Trocolli gave an amazing presentation on the GIS program.
The rest of the week was spent out in the field. While I was in the lab and in D.C., Ryan finished leveling our unit, changed contexts, and went through some of the colonial layer. Ryan and I finished the colonial layer and are working through the transitional subsoil layer. Friday morning I found a feature and excavated it. This feature was most likely a plant because it was shallow and irregular in shape.
We didn’t find any wig curlers, but may have found a boundary since the unit to the west of us didn’t find any either. So hopefully we’ll get the unit done by Tuesday or Wednesday.