Some of the artifacts found in the screens include pieces of bottles (round pieces in the middle), fragments of plates (bottom left corner), nails (upper right corner), and a squirrel vertebrae (top).
Anne Moore of Weintraut and Associates excavates a feature. An archaeological feature is like an artifact, but it is part of the site and cannot be removed without destroying it. This small trench was filled with gravel, a very different fill from the surrounding soil.
In another unit, students carve out the dirt around remnants of bricks from the reflecting pool wall. In more recent years, drainage pipes ran through this area, so these pieces may have broken apart while installing those pipes.
The final shot of the wall. This section is clearly made of bricks, which prompts the question: where are the stones that rimmed the edges of the pool? Someone suggested that the worker hired to fill in the pool agreed to do so in exchange for the stonework. Hmmm…
At the end of the excavation, archaeologists backfill the site with the dirt they removed. While it seems funny to cover up everything they just dug out, backfilling helps to protect what they found and fills in the holes so visitors to the grounds don’t get hurt.
So, over the course of the weekend we found one wall of the reflecting pool, more evidence for a location for Old John’s grave, and some surprising artifacts. We had a good turnout of community members coming to help. We also raised more questions than answers, and never did find the bottom of the pool. As sometimes happens, we were just getting to “the good stuff” when it was time to leave. Based on this first program, we are excited for another edition of History Beneath Us, and started making plans before the archaeologists left on Sunday! Stay tuned for more details.