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US Route 301 Archaeology Update

Written on: November 14th, 2012 in Archaeology Updates US301

Sheet Midden at the Noxon Tenancy, with Pottery and a Pig Jaw

The crew from the Louis Berger Group is back in the field in Delaware, this time at the Noxon Tenant Site. The Noxon Tenancy is a small farm site dating to around 1750, in a field not far from Armstrong Corners. Since this spot was part of a huge property belonging to a wealthy speculator, the people who lived at the site must have been tenants.

We started our work on Monday. After digging a few more test units, we brought in a backhoe to remove the rest of the topsoil from the site. We were chased off the site by the Nor’easter on Wednesday afternoon and didn’t get back to work until Friday. After a day and a half, we had exposed about half the site.  Removing the plowed soil exposed dozens of features on the site. These included what looks like a well, two small cellar holes, and several pits.  One of the features is what archaeologists call a “sheet midden”, a wide, thin deposit of trash. These form when people just throw their trash out into a yard or down a slope, rather than burning it or burying it in pits. This one is full of pottery and animal bone, just the stuff for learning about the lives of the people who lived here 250 years ago.  We’ll have the backhoe on the site again on Monday, finishing up this work and exposing more exciting things.

Pit Feature, Dark from all the Charcoal in the Soil
Pit Feature, Dark from all the Charcoal in the Soil