Tuesday, August 19th, we began our second week of shovel-testing at Borchard Park. The day’s field crew consisted of Brad Jarvis, Ken Kosidlo, and Barry Wittig. Following a morning interview with WNEM TV 5’s Alana Holland, we got to work excavating shovel-test pits (STPs) 6 and 7. We hoped to beat the rain, but didn’t! It was a long soggy day! The weather was better the rest of the week and Ken and I excavated STPs 8 and 9 on Wednesday and Thursday and STPs 10 and 11 on Friday.
Although each STP was unique, the general pattern of the stratigraphy was similar. The upper 10-15 cm consisted of sod and dark sandy silt topsoil with relatively few artifacts including plastic and other modern debris. This was followed by a slightly darker layer of fill extending down to 20-30 cm. This level generally contained an abundance of slag/cinders along with round and square nails, flat glass, bottle glass, a few ceramic sherds, brick, mortar, foil, etc. In STPs 6 and 8 the subsequent 10-12 cm level contained lumps of clay in a sandy silt matrix along with low numbers of brick and mortar fragments, glass, coal, and nails. The other STPs (7 and 9-11) contained a more substantial, approximately 20 cm thick, layer of clay fill. Below the clay, or mixed silt and clay, fill layers there were two or more layers of silt or sand above the basal clay. The generally abrupt transitions between the silt/sand layers indicate that they were scraped and re-deposited, otherwise disturbed, and/or consist of fill. Basal clay was reached at a depth of between 63 and 88 cm below the surface.
The sand/silt layers below the clay fill did contain a few artifacts of 19th century origin. Some noteworthy items from STP 7 include a paneled glass bottle fragment with an applied finish, a blue transfer-printed white-paste earthenware sherd, and a mandibular third molar likely from a sheep or goat (our comparative faunal collection is sorely lacking in domesticated species so the ID is tentative). STP 8 yielded a white clay pipestem fragment and several pieces of glazed red-paste earthenware. Finally, several additional white clay pipe fragments, most of which refit, were found in a compacted layer of medium to fine sand below the layer of clay fill in STP 11. The bowl is plain save the unfinished mold seams and the embossed initials T D. Unfortunately, while these initials may have originally referred to a specific pipe maker, “T D” pipes became very popular and were produced by numerous manufacturers over many decades.
Our hopes of finding intact, or even relatively intact, archaeological deposits at Borchard Park have not yet been realized. Given the extent of fill and disturbance we have already documented, there appears to be little chance of locating undisturbed early 19th century or older deposits at this location. Therefore, we will not be conducting any additional testing at this time. Many thanks to all who participated in the fieldwork!
We will now shift our focus to processing the artifacts we have recovered. Indeed, John Heintz and Ken Kosidlo have already made significant progress in getting the material washed. Sorting and cataloguing are soon to follow.