2016 HSSC Archaeology Field Season gets Underway

A question as familiar as it is awkward to archaeologists… Have you ever found a dinosaur??? Now, instead of explaining the difference between archaeology and paleontology, we can simply answer… Yes!

Our first dino discovery!

Our first dino discovery!

We also managed to work in a little bird watching.

Must be migrating!

Must be migrating!

Yes, the Castle Museum’s 2016 archaeology field season is definitely off to an auspicious start! We have returned to the Swan Creek Township study area to continue our search for evidence of the 19th century (and earlier) inhabitants of the area. Some of our previous work in the Swan Creek area is described here and here. On Wednesday and Thursday this week Nick Bacon, Ken Kosidlo, Maynard Lockwood, and I surveyed approximately 10 hectares (25 acres).

Ken, Maynard, and Nick getting the 2016 field season off to a good start.

Ken, Maynard, and Nick getting the 2016 field season off to a good start.

In addition to the dinosaur and the duck, we did find some archaeologically significant material. In one roughly 30X50 meter area we found a dense cluster of glass fragments along with a few ceramic sherds, brick fragments, pieces of coal, and parts of several shoes. The material ranges in age from the mid-late 19th century through the late 20th century. It may be associated with an 1860s through early 20th century school, possibly early to mid-20th century housing for migrant workers, and a mid to late 20th century dump. In another location we found a light scatter of mid-19th century material including a few scroll flask fragments, the base of a bottle with an open pontil scar, and a few ceramic sherds. Scroll flasks were quite popular during the 1840s and 1850s and most predate the early 1860s (Lindsey 2010).

Fragments of a mid-19th century scroll flask and pontilled bottle.

Fragments of a mid-19th century scroll flask and pontilled bottle.

Lastly, we found a few widely scattered Bayport chert flakes and FCR from the prehistoric inhabitants of the region. We plan to continue our survey in Swan Creek area in the coming days and weeks, so watch this space for future updates.

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