Saturday, May 9, 2009

In Toto

Here it is...all of the major categories mapped together. Two clear clusters emerge in the center and southeast quadrant.

In other news, Scott and I moved some furniture over to the Burch House today...a large desk and some outdoor stuff. Wednesday (probably) April and the gang will be, among other things, readying the Burch House for the field session.


Friday, May 8, 2009

Minie Balls and Caps

Here is the map illustrating the locations of the Minie balls and percussion caps recovered from the Union encampment. The find spots are circled in red.

Map showing Civil War era ordnance.

Doesn't look like much, does it; but the image is deceiving. The circle in the lower right hand corner includes two .58 caliber US Army issued projectiles, a .54 caliber Burnside carbine projectile, and three percussion caps. Furthermore, this is the area in which Steve has found a number of projectiles and pieces of personal belongings. The circle to the northwest identifies the recovery of another .58 caliber projectile. We recovered another percussion cap across the ravine. The find in the northwest corner of the site is a modern shotgun shell.

When we put everything together on one map, I suspect the patterns will become a little clearer.


Thursday, May 7, 2009

And Police the Camp!

Can't say I know much about Union Army protocols, but if they were anything like those of the 20th century, soldiers spent a good part of their time cleaning camps and barracks--policing the site--which would leave little for archaeologists to find. At the Union encampment we did recover some kitchen wares (ceramics, eating utensils) and clothing items (buttons). Their distributions appear in the map below.

There are two concentrations, one in the center of the site and the other in the southeast quadrant. Are these actual tent sites? Can we distinguish between the campsites of officers (the southeast) and enlisted men (center) ?

We are a long way from identifying individual tent sites, much less attributing them to different ranks, but we can use our survey results to pose hypotheses, as I've done yesterday and today, and to develop appropriate methods and strategies for testing those hypotheses.


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Tie Up the Horses, Private!

The map below of the Union encampment illustrates the distribution of equestrian artifacts...horseshoes and horseshoe nails...recovered through metal detecting.

Union Encampment #1. Blue lines represent clusters of horseshoes and horseshoe nails.

There are some isolated finds, but there are also clusters, particularly in the center of the site and in the southeast quadrant. These may well have been the locations of corrals or lines to which the soldiers tied their horses. A number of other nails from buildings or wooden crates were recovered...perhaps their distributions mark the locations of corrals, stables, or other structures. I'll take a look at it tonight.


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Civil War encampment

April's student Magen completed the Union encampment site catalogue the other day. She identified four percussion caps and four Minie balls, including three probable US Army issued .58 caliber projectiles and one .54 caliber Burnside carbine projectile.

Of the 126 recovered artifacts, Magen identified 29 as equestrian; specifically, horseshoes and horseshoe nails.

Most of the other artifacts are miscellaneous bits of hardware, particularly nails, many too corroded to determine function or type.

Artifacts related to eating and drinking included three fork fragments, one knife, and two ceramic sherds: whiteware and American gray stoneware.

I'll try to find some time tonight to plot the different categories on our site map. Hopefully, their spatial distribution will reveal something of the way in which the camp was organized.

Jennie Cosham, registrar at the Maryland Historical Trust, assigned the number 18CH788 to the site. After the field session we will get a report out that includes both the encampment and the north end of the Port Tobacco courthouse survey.