A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America
Field Season 2000
Well, we're about to begin again--the third year of our archaeological excavations at the Lott House. This year, we've altered our dig plan from our initial plan drafted way back in 1997-1998. Originally we had envisioned concentrating on the south field of the house (the front yard), but the last two years of excavations suggest there are no archaeolgical deposits in the front yard, so we modified our research design. In the front yard we would no longer expect to find anything more than the hardened surface of the Lott family's full-sized tennis court.
Yes, they had a tennis court in the front yard! The construction of the court most likely destroyed earlier surfaces, so instead of spending a full six weeks in the front yard, we'll conduct STPs (standardized test pits) in a random pattern throughout the area to confirm our theory.
The woman in the photo is a Lott family friend named Edith Brainerd. The dog's name is Bob. (Courtesy Brooklyn College)
This year, we're going to return to some familiar territory at the Lott House. We'll be back on the East 36th Street side of the property where in 1998 we uncovered the remains of a stone foundation. During that excavation season, we uncovered interesting stratigraphy that did not match what early twentieth-century photographs and maps revealed of the ground surface. We believed that the surface was level, but it appears that there was a peculiar large dip in the property immediately surrounding the house.
The stratigraphy of the western scarp clearly shows this, yet we could not explain it at that time. Trenches will be opened to the north and south of where we excavated in 1998 (see the map for details of this). We want to uncover the roadbed at both ends of the property to measure and compare it to what was uncovered two years ago. This way, we'll be able to understand how this complex stratigraphy may have developed. Plus this will help in determining how the site will be restored. Do we leave the ground surface where it has been since 1900? Or do we restore it to the way it was around 1800? Only this excavation, in search of stratigraphy as opposed to artifacts, will tell. Secondly, we're going to continue investigating around the foundation of the lean-to and the connection between the 1720s and 1800s wings. This should help to clarify questions as to when the two structures were joined. If time remains, and the necessary permit is obtained, we would like to excavate in the backyard of the neighbor to the northwest of the Lott House. This is the area adjacent to where the privy was uncovered last year. We know that half of the late-nineteenth-century privy is under his backyard.
That's the plan for now. As always with archaeology, changes can occur at any time. We start in the field on Wednesday, June 7th. That means you should begin to check back every Monday morning to see what has occurred the week before. Sharpen your trowels and pencils. Get your graph paper out. It's time to start excavating again.
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