2013 Field Report

June 17, 2013

We are very excited about this year’s students and our research goals. We are working the soils directly beneath Block 8, and we are positioned approximately in the middle of the block this year. The latrine (sink) being excavated weathered the winter well, and we will begin excavations into the northern portion of this feature on Friday, June 21. This sink was used by the PoWs in the fall of 1862 to early 1863. We hope that you enjoy our updates from this most exciting site.

2013 excavations at Johnson's Island

Johnson’s Island Week 1 Summary
by the Field School Students

Week one of field school is almost at an end, but we have only just started discovering what Block 8 has to offer. Upon arriving at the excavation site, we observed twelve 2m² units in the process of being excavated. This week we have focused on excavating the plow zone of the units; recovering the residual primary refuse. (Residual Primary Refuse refers to items which entered into the ground at the point where they were lost or broken, typically being small pieces of broken containers or vessels.) With excavation comes the art of screening the removed soil. We are quickly learning how to train our eye for the small artifacts remaining hidden among numerous rocks on the screen. The majority of what we are finding includes brick, glass, ceramic, flint/chert, nails, and bone fragments. Several field specimens have been individually labeled and collected including inkwell, embossed bottle, a ceramic kaolin pipe stem, and Native American ceramic fragments. Thursday, one of Block 8’s latrines, which had begun being excavated in previous years, was uncovered, and we will start excavating it Friday. We students are excited to uncover what cultural material may lie within the remnants of the latrine. The first week has been filled with avoiding numerous spiders and getting our bodies used to being cramped while excavating, but we are enjoying learning the basics of an archaeological excavation and unearthing artifacts.