Special Edition        Glossary         

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The Fort Edwards  Archaeologist

Unearthing the Story of Joseph Edwards's Home and Fort    

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A Glossary of Archaeological Terms

Artifact
An artifact is something found at a site that is made, used or modified by people.

Bastion
A bastion is a protrusion from a fort corner or wall that allows people inside the fort to fire along the outside perimeter of the fort. Therefore, no one can stand close to the wall (to burn or undermine it or try to climb over it) without being subject to direct fire from another portion of the wall.

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Ceramic
A ceramic is a type of pottery made from clay that has been fired. It usually has a glaze applied to it and may be colored or decorated.

Feature
A feature is the remnant of human activity that cannot be removed from a site. It may be a post mark, building foundation, fire pit, cellar, trench, etc.

Level
A layer of an excavation. It may be caused by natural forces as a geologic strata or it may be caused by man such as a layer of burned debris. Layers are numbered from top to bottom.

Neck
The part of a bottle where it narrows down between the main body of the bottle and the rim or opening.

Palisade
A row of pointed stakes or posts forming a defensive barrier of a fort or redoubt.

Post Mark
The stain or irregularity left in soil from the placement of a post. It may include remnants of the post itself or simply a discoloration from a filled in hole made by the post.

Redoubt
A defensive position outside of a fort used to slow the enemies advance and keep them out of range of a fort.

Shard
A broken piece of pottery or ceramic.

Site
A place where people carried on some activity and left behind material clues of their stay.

STP
A Shovel Test Probe is a small hole (about shovel width or diameter) that is dug into the ground to search for artifacts and features. It usually goes down to a feature (if there is one there) or to undisturbed soil of the era one is searching for.

Stockade
A defensive wall of a fort made by placing posts side-by-side in the ground in an upright position. A stockade usually is made from digging a trench, placing posts in the trench and then filling the trench with dirt or rocks or trash to hold the posts upright. The trench is a "feature" with "post marks" in it. [Note: some fort walls are made of logs laid horizonally from the ground up to a desired portective height. These leave no marks below the surface of the earth.]

Unit
An area larger than a STP that is dug to investigate a feature. It usually measures about four feet by four feet or one meter square.

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Last updated: May 19, 2001
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contact:  dig@fortedwards.org