Special Edition     Daily Report   October 13, 2004


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 second major 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 McBride Preservation Services of Lexington, KY. This report provided by The Foundation.


Daily Report, October 13, 2004

    Today began with one of those mornings when the orange-red sky says that not only should sailors take warning, but anyone wishing to work outdoors should be on guard. The work progressed slowly until just before lunch time when it began to rain a bit hard. Everything was covered with plastic, and the crew took a long lunch break. Finally, Greg's sinuses told him that the barometric pressure was rising and better weather was coming. We went back to work and it did not rain the rest of the day.

10-13-14.jpg Removing plastic
10-13-10.jpg muddy shoes10-13-16.jpg dipping water

    After the rain we had to uncover the features. Then we spent a good deal of time cleaning the mud off our shoes and removing water from the holes.


Working on Features

10-13-43.jpg Cellars

    In the area of the two cellar features that abutt the bastion things got more complicated. Under Dr. McBride's direction the crew had uncovered more features. That is always exciting, but these added to the confusion of the nature of the features instead of clearing up the situation. Above is the picture of the growing number of features.

    In the foreground it is easy to distinguish the darker features from the lighter orange colored subsoil. Below is a picture that shows some of the features.

10-13-43d.gif cellars detail

    In the upper left corner under the plastic is the bastion. It juts out from the wall running toward upper center. "A" and "B" are probably two distinct celler features. They could also be fallen chimneys or foundation stones. Or they could be a hole filled in with lots of rocks. We will have to continue excavating them to find out more about them. The three crew members are in the middle of a cellar feature. Its eastern boundary is in the one meter pit to the right of Davis in the black coat. In front of Ann (kneeling in white t-shirt) is a stockade wall segment. This has been sectioned in the small pit directly in front of Ann; she is drawing its characteristics. It has definite post marks in it (see below). It appears to run into another wall feature of some kind. On the right side of the photo is a crooked line that has some of the characteristics of a stockade wall. What the bends mean and what the protrusion is remains a mystery.
10-13-19.jpg stockade post marks

    Above is a section of the stockade wall next to Ann before it was sectioned. You can see the distinct post marks of large logs.

    Not far from the feature above is this area shown below. It also is presenting us with some perplexing questions. What are all the post hole marks? What do they signify? Are they supports for some kind of pole shed or could they be small foundation supports for a building?

10-13-01.jpg Post feature right

    There are quite a few features in this area; we have lettered some so they are easier to see. The photo below is just to the left of the one above; note the similar letters on the left of the top photo and on the right of the bottom photo. Most particularly note the size of the post marks #3 and #5; they are very large. The item sitting on #9 is a coffee thermos.
10-13-03.jpg Post feature left

    Again we are puzzled by what all these represent. It may take a good bit more study before we solve the puzzle. However, the artifacts found in this feature indicate it is a relatively modern feature dating around 1890-1920. However, we may still find something to indicate part of it is earlier.


Near the Spring

10-13-54.jpg spring trenches

    Greg and Mike spent part of the afternoon digging around a trench the backhoe had placed near the spring. We have wondered how the soldiers safeguarded their access to the water supply. The backhoe trench uncovered a trace of stockade wall, so we dug nearby to see if it continued. It did, but we are confused about its direction. Again, we have questions and need more time to find the answers.


Feature #73 - Again

10-13-29.jpg feature 73

    Ann worked with Rebecca on feature #73 where we had found the broken bottle base on the second day. We have seen Ann here for several days. This gives us some indication of how long it can take to fully explore even a relatively small feature. Note that Rebecca has a brush to clean off the stones. They must be carefully cleaned and photographed before we can consider removing them to see what might be amongst them or under them. We are very grateful that Rebecca and Chris decided to postpone their departure until this evening so they could work another day. We hope they continue to show such commitment to archaeology as they progress in their studies.

Drawing the Features

10-13-72.jpg tape & level
10-13-74.jpg Rebecc's drawing

10-13-44.jpg Ann's drawing
    Much time was spent today drawing the features that were completed. In addition to taking photographs of the features, we draw a scale sketch of them. Often the photograph can not make out the subtle changes of soil type or other characteristics; the human eye can see and record more variations. Above is Rebecca's drawing of the feature that Myrisa excavated and to the right is Ann's sketch of the stockade trench.

Artifacts of the Day
    Today we found two exciting artifacts. One is a musket ball the size of balls used in a Brown Bess. This was a musket that the Colony of Virginia would have supplied to soldiers from the colony's armoury. It is not the type used by settlers. The other artifact was a colonial style copper spoon handle.

10-13-51.jpg musket ball10-13-52.jpg spoon

Diggers of the Day
10-13-47.jpg Greg Adamson
Greg Adamson
10-13-48.jpg Mike Wilke
Mike Wilke
10-13-38.jpg Greg & Mike
Greg and Mike are from the Massanutten Chapter of the Archaeological Society of Virginia. Greg has been searching for the frontier forts for many years, while Mike, although an experienced amateur archaeologist, is on his first historical fort dig. We thank them both for their help. Anyone who is interested in learning more about archaeology should consider contacting a local or state archaeological society.

Go to: Glossary


Report for October 14, 2004

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