Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Old Findings at the Dig Site

By JP Harwick
            We’ve had a lot of fun in archaeology so far and since our first day, we’ve had more than our share of surprises. Overall, our first field experiences have turned out beautifully. Thanks to Professor Fontes our teacher, Karen and Audrey our coordinators, and Sarah our historian we have a great deal worth of artifacts for two days worth of digging.  We dug into the hard New England soil and started our quest for knowledge. It was Sarah, Jason, and I who was in the first group followed by Karen, Audrey, and Professor Fontes in the second. We dug down and encountered what seemed to be a brick wall in the midst of a half foot deep hole. Our team was getting really excited. “Oh my gosh!” Sarah exclaimed. “What if we actually find a complete wall. That’d be totally awesome!” Jason was less enthusiastic. “I bet this is just a big oddly shaped rock. That’s probably what it is……” “We’ve gotta keep a positive outlook” I said. Meanwhile Professor Fontes had gone with one of Regis’s groundskeepers to examine a site that might be a good place for us to dig. When she got back, she led us to the spot. It was what looked to be a colonial stone wall that originally led all the way down Wellesley street. It had a post on one end and a protusion coming out of the post told us a gate must have originally been there. We were so excited! Professor Fontes said that we ought to wait for the 2nd semester when all the weeds and debris would clear out. We went back to our dig site and a few minutes later after unearthing charcoal and granite pieces from the metal clad soil. Our biggest discovery came next. We found a pottery shard in the dirt and it measured about ¼ of an inch in diameter. It was miniscule find, but a momentous discovery. We left the dig site with caution tape around it.

The next dig was even better. We started earlier as we didn’t want to lose any precious time and began clearing up dirt for sifting. Karen’s husband had very generously made two sifters for our class and they were used to good effect as Karen and Professor Fontes sifted about 20 pounds worth of dirt. Jason and I were clearing the grass away so we could slowly but surely excavate with our little shovels. Sarah joined in after taking a few pictures for documentation of the site and we started digging. It didn’t take very long to find another big discovery. Sarah had exclaimed in class that if she found any conclusive evidence that Weston was a farming town she could do her Master’s thesis on it. “All I need is a nail, horseshoe or something…..” She told us how in her Sophomore year she had started researching the history of Weston and how her research had led up to this point. Soon we had found found Sarah’s golden fleece. Jason saw something peculiar sticking out of the soil. “I think I see something. It’s going into the ground.” “Let’s see what it is” I said. “Dig around it carefully” Sarah suggested. Within a couple minutes we had found an old nail. It had a flat top to it so that suggested it was really old. Karen examined our find and said it was probably made in the early 1800s. Sarah labeled and catalogued our specimen and took pictures of it. We continued to dig that day, but didn’t find anything else except for more coal, granite and rusted soil. A week or so later, we came across more things in the rusty-clad soil. It was pieces of glass. They came in different colors, which is kind of odd since they were found so close to each other. They came in brown clear and blue. A couple of weeks later we found another small piece of pottery which is exciting for us as we don’t know how old it is and are hoping it’s from colonial times. Now that it is halfway through the semester, we knew that not everything is found in an entire semester. We are thankful that we have found several unique artifacts. These are important as they will give us clues about Weston’s past. It has been so much fun in this class and I can’t wait to see what is to come. Maybe we’ll find a horseshoe or more pottery shards. Whatever it is, I can’t wait to continue digging into Weston’s spectacular past!  

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