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US Route 301 Archaeology Update

Written on: July 9th, 2012 in Archaeology Updates US301

We are beginning another excavation on the 301 project!  Here is the link to a handout detailing this amazing site. 

Public Outreach at the Site
Houston LeCompt Archaeological Site
Houston LeCompt Archaeological Site

Fieldwork has begun at the Houston-LeCompt archaeological site despite the hot weather.  One good thing to come out of the recent storms is that the rain left us with good workable soil conditions.  That makes a huge difference when digging in this heat!  We are about halfway through the process of sampling the plowzone for artifacts.  Recovery so far has been very heavy in most of our sample areas, with thousands of fragments of historic ceramics and glassware making up the bulk. While is is sad that so many beautiful objects were broken up by centuries of plowing, it is a testament to how long and how frequently farmers have been working this land.  Among those thousand of objects, there are also a few gems, such as half of a tiny teacup from a child’s tea set, a thimble, pennies from the late 1800’s, and a hair pin set.   However, it is what is at the bottom of our sample units that is exciting to us as archaeologists.  We are seeing features underneath the plowzone, around the area where the foundation and cellar were found during previous work on the site.

Weather permitting, we will finish plowzone sampling early next week, and begin mechanical stripping of the site.  We are hoping that once the backhoe starts clearing large areas, the features we can see now will connect to others, possibly to form outlines of additional outbuildings or fence lines, or expand to  reveal trash pits, wells, or privies.  With the site located right along Boyd’s Corner Road, we have had curious onlookers and visitors stopping by already.  We are looking forward to working with volunteers and helping local residents learn more about both the archaeological process and the people who once lived on this farmland.