Special Edition    Daily Report    October 15, 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 15, 2004

    Yesterday afternoon the decision was made to extend the dig for three more days instead of ending on Thursday afternoon as planned. We have too many questions and too few answers. We hope that concentrating on several of the puzzling features and looking nearby for others will be a profitable use of our time and money. Archaeology, like so many ventures, is always a balance between hopes and resources.

    We were fortunate to have a visit today from Harold Simmons from the West Virginia Department of Transportation. He is the man who administers the grant money that is providing for this dig. We appreciate his personal interest in our work and also the opportunity to discuss some administrative matters directly with him. Unfortunately, our web master was negligent in not taking any pictures of his visit. He also missed snapping the Editor of the Hampshire Review who came to get information for an upcoming article on our work.

    Today gave us more concern about the weather than any other day. The forecast was for rain and the sky at times looked very ominous. About lunchtime it did rain for about 45 minutes. We had gotten out the tents in case the day turned into a real rainy day, but in the end we did not have to use the cover; we just took an extra long lunch break.
feature 64
    Today we again worked in the area of the stockade wall/bastion intersection with the cellar features. Just beside the cellar features are several stains or very shallow features that have puzzled us for days. Today we bisected two of them to see what we could learn. Unfortunately, we did not learn much. Ann is working on Feature #64A while 64B is where the sign board is sitting. Below we see a closeup of Feature #64B showing how shallow it is. There were no artifacts associated with it, and nothing that gives us a clue to its purpose.
64 closeup

Fred & Greg backhoe

   Since we still have not found Joseph Edwards's house, we decided to do some more trenching with the backhoe. This allows us to remove the sod and plowzone much quicker than if we did it all with shovels. However, in order to make sure that the machine does not damage any hidden features, someone is always there with a shovel supervising the backhoe and Dr. McBride comes by often to supervise the supervisor. We did discover some interesting features that we will explore further tomorrow.
McBride checkingGreg shoveling

Featured Team Member
Ann      Ann Wilkinson is our featured archaeology team member today. She is a graduate of William and Mary College in Williamsburg, Virginia. She has in interest in doing further graduate work, but is taking time to work on various field jobs in the meantime. She is interested in working in America and is enjoying this historical archaeology experience.

Tool of the Dayspike tool
    We like to look at the unusual tools that are in use on the project. Today we have a very simple probe. This is simply a steel rod about one quarter inch in diameter with a handle on it. Here Dr. McBride is using it to probe under the subsurface layer beneath the plowzone to see if there are rocks or hard items below. This tool has found us several features that are characterized by stone accumulations whether they are large concentrations like the cellar features or small ones like Feature #64 with its small rock accumulations.

Artifact of the Day
clay pipe
    Today we had a lucky find. Clay pipe parts are a very common means of dating features. These pipes are relatively easy to date because of several different manufacturing styles and characteristics that have changes at pretty specific periods of time. The pipes were very common and very often discarded so they are easy to find just about everywhere. This piece, unlike most, has part of the makers mark on it; apparently it is "..ool." Perhaps Liverpool.
teapot snout
    Another artifact that is common is household ceramic. Here we have a creamware teapot snout that is broken in half. Creamware was relatively inexpensive and manufactured during a specific time period. The different styles also help date it. We will have this cleaned and given to a ceramics expert to date.

Most Ornate Artifact
stove door
    Sometimes our web master is able to shine in other areas. Today he takes the prize for most ornate artifact. While he was helping Fred with the backhoe, Dr. McBride began to open a test pit nearby. When Stephen was called away to check on another feature, the web master picked up the shovel to lend a hand. This is what he discovered. Although it is not from the French and Indian War era, it is representative of family life in a later period here at this farm. The design on the piece is very interesting and not very common. The article is probably the door from a small pot belly type stove. To the lower left is a modern 22 cal. rifle cartridge on a mussel shell found in the same area.

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Report for October 16, 2004

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