Saturday, November 17, 2007
This appears to be the removal of courthouse rubble.
Exposed foundations within the courthouse.
Apparently artifacts of Native American origin were found.
Excavation within the cellar of the St. Charles Hotel. The cellar door of the Chimney House is visible in the background.
Friday, November 16, 2007
"Opened in 1876. George Hunt, its proprietor, names it in honor of the Centennial Exposition taking place at the same time. It was a comfortable place and a haven for the weary traveler. On "co't" days it accommodated throngs. All of the young bachelors of the village who had no homes dwelt here."
"The St. Charles hotel belonged to the Burch family in its last years. It was torn down in the 90's. It had 25 large bedrooms on the upper floor. The lower floor had a dining room that seated 200 people, a breakfast room, card room, bar room, double parlor, and kitchens. There was also a living room and bedroom for the proprietor. There was another bar room in the basement for the rough customers along with the servants quarters. The trees were very old aspens. This hotel contained the finest ballroom in Southern Maryland and all of the County balls were held here."
These differences in function and clientele should be quite apparent from the archaeological record of each property. The relatively young age of the Centennial (likely open for less than 20 years) and the fact that it was used as a boarding house too may complicate our analyses. While the extravagant artifacts of the St Charles should be easily differentiated from the domestic artifacts of neighboring properties, the more commonplace artifacts I'd expect to find at the Centennial may look a lot like those from the neighboring houses and whatever occupied the property before it.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
To date 80% of the artifacts have been catalogued. While lab work is just that, work, it is also an opportunity to learn. Cataloguing requires the ability to differentiate between the different types of artifacts. Nails aren't just nails, there are different types...wire (modern), machine cut, and handwrought as well as others. What's the difference between whiteware, pearlware and creamware? These are some of the things we learn while working with the artifacts.
And of course there is always the artifacts that come up that we aren't sure what they are or how to classify them. The more people working on the catalog, the faster it goes and the better we can be at identifying the artifacts properly.
My plan is to get the catlog finished before the Thanksgiving holiday weekend and with the help of our volunteers I am confident that we can get it done.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
So I say again, HAPPY BIRTHDAY JIM!!!
Today is the birthday of the illustrious Dr. James G. Gibb, founder of the Port Tobacco Archaeological Project and winner of the 2006 William B. Marye Award, which honors individuals who have made outstanding contributions to Maryland archeology. Jim has made an outstanding contribution (or two) to all of us who have the pleasure of being involved in the Port Tobacco project. Personally, Jim gave me my first real archaeology job almost exactly 9 years ago. Since then Jim has been a mentor, a friend, and a general pain in my butt. We've worked together on many a project and I fear this trend may continue. I'm doomed. Doomed!
Happy Birthday Jim!
Monday, November 12, 2007
(Grigsby, 1993, p.47)
Originally I was going to blog about the piece of North Italian (also known as Pisan) Slipware. However, I need to do some research on it and show the pieces to some colleagues to get some other opinions on the piece. So instead of the Pisan, we are going to learn about Staffordshire Slipware.
The Staffordshire district in England has been making pottery for centuries. In fact there is a written reference to a potter there in 1348 (Grigsby, 1993). Slipware production started to build in the mid-seventeenth century up through the end of the eighteenth century with it starting to disappear in the colonies after the 1770's.
The slipwares from Staffordshire came in different styles which have shown up on American sites of the eighteenth Century. These styles are known as relief-decorated, trailed, combed, and marbled slipware.
The pottery coming out of Staffordshire was usually made with local materials and at first were sold locally until the mid-eighteenth century. They vary in style but the colors are the same throughout. A yellow or brown paste with differing shades of brown slips and glazes.
The decoration varied from potter to potter. The relief decorated styles had press molded designs of roulettes, royal figures, flora and fauna. Many had the date and either the name of the potter or the owner of the piece.
Trailed slipware from the area had patterns of elaborate geometric and floral patterns and were usually unsigned or dated. The process of trailing on slipware is an interesting one. At first glance it looks sloppy until you see the pattern of allowing the slip to trail off from where it was applied to form "peaks and valleys" of the different patterns.
These are just two of the examples of the different types of Staffordshire slipwares that have surfaced on excavations and in museums. I will talk more about the other kinds on another day.
The pictures above show pieces of a staffordshire slipware from Port Tobacco and a dish of the Staffordshire Trailed Slipware from the seventeenth century.
Sunday, November 11, 2007