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US Route 301 Archaeology Update

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

Fish Scales

Excavation of the cellar hole at the Elkins B site by Hunter Research, Inc. continues to produce a wealth of artifacts and information as we proceed towards the floor.  Items of interest thus far this week are a small lead bird shot, a host of faunal remains (including fish scales), a thimble and a half penny also known as a half pence.  The image on the obverse (or front) side of the copper coin is well worn and the reverse or back side is completely worn.  From what we can see, we have been able to determine the image on the front side of the coin faces right is that of King William III.  The back would have depicted the seated Britania facing left.  Because King William III is not accompanied by Queen Mary (who died of small pox in 1694) the coin must date to between 1695 and 1701.  No halfpennies were produced in England under Queen Anne from 1701 to 1714, thus earlier coins remained in circulation longer than normal and tend to be well-worn.  Given the amount of wear we estimate it was in circulation for around 30 years.  The presence of coins at all dating to the late 17th and first half of the 18th centuries along the Route 301 corridor are rare as bartering for goods and services was more the norm in this rural area.