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US Route 301 Archaeology Update

Written on: September 17th, 2012 in Archaeology Updates US301


Well, well, well… At the Cardon Holton site we almost made it to the bottom of the well using conventional hand excavation but with two feet left to go the side walls from the original cone of excavation started to fissure and made further investigations unsafe.  With assistance from the backhoe we were able to retrieve the four corner posts and the plank sidewalls.  The posts were hand-hewn with an adze and the ends pointed with an axe.  Two of the longer posts exhibited a drilled hole about 5 feet up from the base and one retains bark, which should provide a good candidate for dendrochronology.  No signs of cross members were visible suggesting perhaps the holes were used to lower the partially constructed box into the hole.  The sides were fashioned from large logs, split with a froe forming wedge-shaped planks (some also with bark).  The planks were pinned onto the corner posts with small wrought nails and held into position by a layer of clay and the pressure of the surrounding soil.  All of the wooden remains were washed and observations were recorded before wrapping the saturated specimens in clear plastic wrap and then stored under a dark tarp to retard fungal growth.  Excavation of the main root cellar recovered several straight pins, egg shell, fish scales, small lead shot and bits of gunflints. 

Well WoodWell Wood