Special Edition Day 1 May 7, 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 interpret 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.
The Dig Begins!
After enjoying the hospitality of the Hooks Mill B&B, a world famous gourmet spot, the archaeolgoical team arrived at Fort Edwards and began to unpack their equipment to begin the two week project of trying to indentify the extent of the area of occupation at the colonial site and hopefully to define the position of the French and Indian War fort.
Tools of the Trade
It is interesting to note the diversity of tools that the team utilizes. There are the every day items like flags and the common 5 gallon bucket and, of course, the ever present notebook to record everything of importance. But there are also some high tech tools like the total station survey instrument that is used to precisely locate artifacts. The information from this computer driven electronic wonder can be downloaded to a desktop computer in order to generate 3D maps of the artifact locations.
The first order of the day was to begin surface collecting artifacts from the newly plowed and disked earth. Fortunately, it had rained on Saturday evening helping to wash some of the dirt off the artifacts which lay near the survface. However, even with this help from Mother Nature, it was still hard to pick out the teasures from the trash. These are three pictures of the same artifact; it is about 1.5 inches wide. Did you find it in the dirt above?
Mapping the site
Before the artifacts could be located with the survey instrument it was necessary to go to a known spot along the road and then define a point near the dig. Once this was done, everything at the dig could be placed in reference to the calculated point.
Activities of the Day with the total station survey insturment sighting on the spots marked with a flag by Cathy who is placing the flags and giving each location a number that will be recorded by Kurt. On right center is Dr. McBride using the metal detector to find metalic objects that are rusted and colored like the dirt or buried a few inches below the surfact. These will then be flagged and marked with a number. On the far right is what any important project such as this needs - Michael O'Brien from the Hampshire Review rushing to make today's deadline for this week's newspaper. Look for his informative article in the Review on Wednesday.
The picture below shows many of the activities of the day. In the background on the left is Kurt
Artifacts of the Day
On our first day of work besides the bucket of modern trash we recovered there were three interesting artifacts. There was a tiny piece of delft ceramic, a relatively high class of ceramic from the eighteenth century. There was also a piece of blue and white Chinese hard-paste porcelain made for export. This was highly esteemed and very desirable in colonial times. Another important find was a piece of German stoneware. This is the light colored piece with brown decorative spots. When these items have been analyzed in the lab we might be able to tell something about what type of utensil the came from.
Volunteer of the Day
Our thanks to Buck O'Brien of North River Mills for helping us out today. It is just such assistance in all phases of the Foundation's work that will make our project to preserve, protect and interpret this important site a success. You all should know Buck as the master chef who supplies the Colonial Feast with the wonderful Bear meat. Thanks again, Buck, for helping us out today!
Check back each day for an update!