Special Edition    Daily Report    October 16, 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 16, 2004

35 sun & clouds
    Today was another day dominated by the weather. This photo shows a period of bright sunshine and large white clouds. We had time to take a picture when it was calm. We do not have photos of the unsuspectingly quick wind that took two tents for a ride and placed some of our plastic cover in the top of a tall tree. Nor do we have photos of the driving rain that huddled us all in the surviving shelter while we held it down against the wind. But, there was enough time without rain when we could accomplish a good bit of work. That allowed us to find some very interesting features.
    The Stockade Wall Continues
16 stockade line

    This was the most exciting discovery of the day. In one of the trenches and another trench along side of a previously found feature that we thought we should revisit for further exploration, we found sections of the stockade wall running from the direction of the section with the in-wall bastion. This gives us almost twice the distance of stockade line than we had before we began this dig. We have shown the line in red; the broken part is not yet excavated, but we assume it is there. Something that is very interesting although we do not know its purpose is the fact that the section in the left trench has two bends.

Below is a picture of the stockade line in the pit in the right foreground.
23 feature 81

17 features 80-83

    This perspective above shows the line of stockade wall we discovered and two features inside of the wall (see below). They are another puzzle. Their shape is rather random and not suggestive of any particular use.
15 features 83-83

Mysterious Burn Feature - Feature 80

    Kurt spent the day working on a mysterious burn feature (#80) discovered in one of the trenches the backhoe dug yesterday. If you follow along the photos below you will see what Kurt did to the feature during the day after he uncovered it.

    Archaeology is known as a "destructive science" since to explore something is usually to destroy it. In this case Kurt will divide the feature in half and study one of the halves. In the photo below you see him bagging some of the burned soil and charcoal that he removed from the feature. This allows us to analyze the contents of the feature and then to see how deep it was and what is under it. In this case it is relatively shallow - about 2 inches - and there is nothing under it except the undisturbed subsoil. The contents of the plastic bag that Kurt is filling will go to a laboratory for analysis.

31 bagging
39 half left
Here Kurt has finished removing the right half of the feature.

46 remaining cross section
    What you see here is what is left of the feature. This is the sharp cut between the two halfs and the half that is remaining. This will be covered up after we end tomorrow and left for future study. As the capabilities of scientists increase and they create new tests to analyze things, we will have something left to be looked at sometime in the future.

   Featured Team Member
    Our featured team member today is Kurt Rademaker. Kurt was the number two man on the 2001 team so he knows much about our site. He is also the Project Cartographer or survey expert who operates the Pentax Total Station that precisely locates every feature on the site. With his help we hope to get a 3-D map before too long.

    Kurt is doing graduate work at the University of Maine in the Climate Change Institute. That is a multi-disciplinary program that brings together many of the earth sciences in hopes of enriching each of the separate fields. Kurt is working on a Masters degree in Quaternary and Climate Studies. His thesis will be on Paleo-Indian and Obsidian Use in Highland Peru. We hope he returns to historic American archaeology after his studies.


   Mysterious Artifact of the Day
Mystery Artifact
    It seems that we are continually being puzzled. Today we found this artifact early in the morning. It appears to be made of lead. It is a bit over one eight inch thick (not even all the way around) and tapers from top to bottom. The rim on the top is about one sixteenth inch high. To our naked eye the symbol on the left appeared to be a san serif "G." The photograph shows something different. Any guesses as to what it is? Contact us.

Visitor of the Day
Ann & her father     Our special visitor today made our day a family affair. We try to highlight a special visitor and when a team member's family comes to visit that is special. The photograph shows our archaeology team member Ann with her father, Bruce Wilkinson. He is not a dirt digger, but he is a history buff who enjoyed his first visit to Fort Edwards. We hope he comes back to see our interpretation of his daughter's field work when we get the archaeology exhibit installed.

Ann measures

27 Ann's drawing     Ann spent much of her day enlarging, cleaning and drawing the stockade feature with the two turns. One turn is a 90 degree angle on the left; the other turn is just off the photo on the far right.


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Report for October 17, 2004

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