Special Edition Day 5 May 11, 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 Five -
The fifth day began much like the other days. More STPs were planned and the large trench (dug Tuesday, joined with Feature 8 on Wednesday and enlarged yesterday) was bisected. This means that the feature that we first thought might be an angle of the "stockade" perhaps making a bastion, but discovered yesterday to be a pit similar to a small root cellar was dug into so we could determine what it was. Only about half the feature was excavated. This would give us enough space to find some artifacts (if there were any in the feature) but not destroy it all so it could be reinspected at a later date.
The Other End
As that work was progressing Kurt was busy trying to find the other end of Dr. Gardner's old "stockade" trench. With careful plotting based on Dr. Gardner's map, he dug a small trench across the end of the "stockade" and across the original Feature #1.
In this picture you can see how deep Kurt had to go to get to the bottom of Feature 1.
Note that we use quotes around the word "stockade". Dr. Gardner said in his report that the 35 foot long trench he found might be a stockade wall. We expect one at a frontier fort, but it is not certain that this feature is in fact the remnants of a stockade wall. It appears to be but needs further investigation.
Pencil & Paper
was diligently working away at one of the more tedious but important functions of an archaeologist. Even though cameras can record features, for the sake of detailed records archaeologists still rely on hand made drawings of features. They record things that the camera might miss because of lighting conditions or shades of color that do not reproduce well. Judging from Cathy's work, there must be a little bit of artist in archaeologists.
While Kurt was working on finding the end of what is thought to be a portion of stockade wall, Cathy
Enjoying the Scenery
All the while work was going on in front of the house, a crew was continuing the series of STPs behind the house. It was a very pretty day and one of the volunteers had the good sense to have brought a stool to sit on while screening dirt from the STP. What a way to take your vacation!
What's in the Bag
While everyone else was hard at work digging up artifacts from STPs or trenches someone had to keep up with the curatorial duties. Guess who got that duty? Guess who is responsible if anything is missing or mislabeled?
Maybe Dr. McBride just lost his lunch bag and is looking for it!
The Features Revealed
Back at Kurt's trench things had progressed quite well. Kurt had enlarged the pit to connect several of Gardner's features. At this point Kurt called Dr. McBride over to see what had been revealed. It was.... well... interesting... perplexing.... frustrating, etc.
These two pictures show Trench G with the north extension of the so-called stockade wall (Feature 7) entering from the bottom of the picture. The end of the stockade trench seems to widen into a bulge. In that bulge there were some stones around what may have been an end post. The three red circles show what may have been three posts in the trench; the smaller one at the top had stones around it.
To the left of the "stockade" trench is a lone post mark. To the right is a triangular bit of Feature 1; it is a burn feature of some sort. Above the end of the trench is a elongated mark about the size of two post marks side by side. Around the corner (upper right) is found Feature 6, the trash pit Dr. Gardner found.
It is frustrating that it is so hard to find a continuous and definate stockade wall with regular post marks in it. It is also perplexing that there seem to be random post marks scattered around.
The red and white ruler that we use in these pictures is marked in 10 centimeter segments; that means that each segment (red or white) is about four inches long.
Artifacts of the Day
Not all artifacts are intreging or photogenic or exciting. Noneless they all tell part of the story of a site. Today's artifacts are like so many of the items recovered from the ground. They seem very ordinary. Today's collection is from one of the STP's that contained an accumulation of animal bones. It also contained some chert flakes. The little stone flakes may look like ordinary stones but they show definate marks of having been worked by man. Could they be prehistoric? Or are they connected with Joseph Edwards or later landowners?
Volunteers of the Day
Jim Cawley is the new addition to the dig today. He may be in the running for the worker who came the greatest distance. Jim found us on the Internet a few months ago, joined the Foundation and got on the schedule to dig as soon as he heard about the planned archaeological excavation.
Charlotte Brewster had so much fun yesterday that she is back again today.