A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America
1.8 meters below the surface, we have reached the bottom of the privy
trench. How can we be sure? Auger
tests revealed that the sandy sterile soil lining the trench floor extends
at least another two meters. Our initial analysis of the finds--from
whiteware ceramics dating to after the 1840s to ball mason jars with milk
glass tops dating to the 1860s--suggests that the privy dates to the 1860s.
We had hoped the bottom of the trench would reveal evidence of even earlier
deposits, but no such luck. Apparently, this privy was dug and used
exclusively during the 1860s. Privies prior to that must have been located
outside the boundaries of the modern Lott property.
During the winter months, if all goes according to plan and the asbestos is
removed, we hope to be digging within the basement of the house itself,
where we suspect servants may have been living. Next year's work will focus
on the south field and in the four corners of the property. Maybe next year
will be the year we at last uncover an intact, sealed deposit that dates
between 1800 and the 1850s.
We have almost completed the first task of lab work--washing the
artifacts--thanks to those dedicated students who volunteered their last
days of summer to help. Although we don't have an official count yet, it
appears that this year's excavations brought in about 25,000 artifacts on
top of the 33,000+ from the previous year. Only three bags of broken window
and bottle glass remain to be washed. From there the artifacts will be
catalogued, labeled, photographed, and sometimes drawn as well.
Since archaeology is the planned destruction of a site, it is prudent to
have as much repetitive information as possible. Things get lost and people
make mistakes, but by using redundant recording systems, we insure that the
information will not vanish. Many of these objects will never again see
the light of day because of limited display space. Down the road, different
researchers will require different information; someone who is interested
in the artistry of material remains will be interested in how things look;
someone else will want to know how many parts and pieces there are. If
finds are well-recorded, future scholars will be able to collect the data
School has just begun at Brooklyn College, and that means we have a
handful of students helping us out as part of the Archaeology Laboratory
class. Work should really progress now. Stay tuned for more from the lab.
Discussion Question: Are there any dolls like these in your family?
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