2002 Field Report 3

May 30, 2002

The weather has been more cooperative the past two weeks. The site is finally starting to dry out, and this has allowed us to work on all the units. Let’s hope we won’t be suffering from much more rain this year!

When the weather cooperates, we screen excavated soils outside.

When the weather cooperates, we screen excavated soils outside.

Since the last field report, we have had fourteen new classes at the site. With their help, we have recovered 144 additional Field Specimens. That makes a total of 358 special finds this year! We have also noticed a substantial number of prehistoric ceramics and suspect that we may encounter a prehistoric feature as well.

A student works with Bush recording one of the many Field Specimens that were recovered.

A student works with Bush recording one of the many Field Specimens that were recovered.

We have opened six additional units since our last reporting, with fourteen two-meter squares being explored. We are currently excavating the units down to subsoil to expose any features. After another week of work, we should have finished the first of these units and recorded any intrusions into the ground.

Findings

Click on the artifacts for larger images.

The twelve items above, found since the last field report, all relate to the prisoner craft activities that we have been documenting in our studies of Block 4. The artifacts include three pieces of shell, three pieces of hard rubber button fragments that may have been trimmed off a ring, a sliver of hard rubber (probably from a hard rubber rule), two broken rings, one hard rubber tube link (used to make chains for necklaces), one hard rubber item that was prepared for a silver set (notice the hole in its base for a stud), and a silver set. You can go to the Field Specimen Catalogue to see all the artifacts, which include many examples of cut shell.

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We found another example of one of our mystery items, a small carved bone piece (above left) that one of respondents thought was a pawn in a chess set. I tend to agree, but would love to see an example of a set. The second item above is no mystery, as many of the diary entries we have mention prisoners playing marbles among other games. This marble is made from clay. The third item is a nice example of an iron buckle, something we don’t find often at the site.

We start the next part of our field season June 10, so stay tuned for more reports in the coming weeks! We’ve also had two articles about our work recently appear in Ohio newspapers (May 19 in the Columbus Dispatch and May 25 in The Cleveland Plain Dealer).

Each class visits the cemetery and hears from letters and diaries of prisoners that died at Johnsons Island.

Each class visits the cemetery and hears from letters and diaries of prisoners that died at Johnson's Island.

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