Special Edition Day 4 May 10, 2001
The Fort Edwards Archaeologist
Unearthing the Story of Joseph Edwards's Home and Fort
Report on the Archaeological Excavations at Fort Edwards, home site of Joseph
Edwards and a French and Indian War frontier fort of Col. George Washington.
This archaeological excavation is part of the ongoing project of The Fort Edwards Foundation of Capon Bridge, West Virginia, to preserve, protect and iterpret the home site and fort site at Joseph Edwards's land grant on the banks of the Cacapon River in Hampshire County, West Virginia. This site represents both an early settler's home of the second quarter of the eighteenth century and a French and Indian War fort in Col. George Washington's chain of forts protecting the Virginia frontier. The excavation is under the direction of Dr. Stephen McBride of Wilbur Smith Associates of Lexington, KY. This page is one of a series of reports on the work.
Day Four - Questions Still Unanswered
And More STPs
The fourth day of the dig began with the routine of more shovel test pits along the lines laid out Tuesday. The lines on the north side of the house were extended as a guide for placing more STPs in that area. For the most part that area has not been extensively investigated, yet its proximity to the spring may have made it a sought after camping area for soldiers. In more modern times the area was used for small animal pens.
While a small crew was working north of the house the majority of the work was continuing in the area south of the house where we have been working since Tuesday.
In this area Kurt was continuing to enlarge the pit of Feature 7 & 8 that were worked on yesterday. It had baffled us yesterday when after we had excavated the area between Features 7 and 8 we could not figure out if the two features actually met. We wanted to solve that mystery today. We were hoping that what we thought was the stockade wall did connect with the new feature possibly to form a bastion.
In the mean time, Charlotte was finding lots of things in her pit. Unfortunatley, over the years small trees have grown up aound the edges of the fields and Charlotte was digging among them. Here we see her using another of those common tools often need by archaeologists. It is a common tree pruner. She is trying to clean the tree roots out of the pit so she can get at the dirt and sift it looking for artifacts.
Shovel & Trowel
Back at the large pit, Kurt was making great headway with help from Cathy. Here you see both the method of moving a lot of dirt (Kurt using the shovel) and how the final few centimeters of earth are removed (Cathy using her trowel). A feature can be a very fragile thing and too much scraping can remove it all before it can be studied and photographed.
Moistening the scene
With the work of these two energetic diggers it looked as though we would soon solve the msytery of the end of the stockade line. Dr. McBride got out the sprayer so we could photographic the feature. The sprayer with plain water is used to moisten the soil enough that it darkens and shows the characteristics of the feature better. Nw we were ready to stand back and view the feature and solve the puzzle!
The Features Exposed
Well, we have a new puzzle - or perhaps just another puzzle!
What we now appear to have is the end of what we think may be the stockade wall (Feature #7) and just adjacent to it a pit, maybe a root cellar or trash pit (Feature 8). Then just to the south of the pit at the edge of the trench we have dug is another dark feature (Feature 9). At the present time we do not know what it is.
The workday was coming to a close so it was decided to wait until tomorrow to bisect the new pit to see what it might be. We will also do some work on Feature 9 to find out what it is. So many questions, so few answers. Tune in tomorrow!
Artifact of the Day
Most of the artifacts found today in the STPs were not much different from those found yesterday. However, many of the STPs behind the house and to the south revealed artifacts of more modern origen. This mouth harp has not been dated. This simple instrument has been a favorite since before colonial times through to the modern era. It would be nice to imagine that some Virginia Regiment soldiers sitting around the campfire one evening might have used this one, but it appears to be more modern than that. Still, it is fun to dream.