I’m not sure where the time went, but somehow I haven’t managed to produce a fieldwork update since July. Rest assured, the Castle Museum archaeology team did not take the past three months off! As readers may remember, we started the 2015 field season conducting a surface survey in the Swan Creek area of Saginaw County – described here. During that survey we located three dense clusters of mid-19th century habitation debris, as well as later 19th and 20th century material and a few scatters of prehistoric items. Fast forward to August and we found ourselves returning to the Swan Creek study area. This time we were hoping that shovel-testing might reveal a midden, or other additional evidence of the mid-19th century community in the floodplain areas of Swan Creek adjacent to the surface scatters.
We were testing the idea that residents in the area may have disposed of their trash by dumping it along the edge of the terrace. This is a pattern of midden formation that has been noted in other areas including at the early to mid-19th century Cater Site in Midland County (Beld 2002). Unfortunately, over much of our study area, the terrace slopes gently down to the floodplain and there is no obvious bank over which trash may have been deposited.
Our shovel-testing efforts, conducted throughout August and September, were largely unsuccessful. We found a few flakes and FCR from one of the prehistoric components and a handful of relatively recent historic items. Among the historic period items was a ca. 1970s-era beer bottle fragment found lying on the surface with its embossed civic message apparently having gone unheeded.
Also of interest in the floodplain area is an iron wheel that is slowly being swallowed by a maple tree.
We wrapped up our shovel-testing efforts in the Swan Creek study area at the end of September. An update on our October and November fieldwork will be forthcoming.