Sunday, June 19, 2011

June 16: The Plowzone Ends!

June 16-Dave Watt
                Today was a wonderful day to continue our digging.  Many units have broken ground on their 3rd level of 20-30 centimeters deep and have found the end of the plow zone!  This basically means that the plows did not reach any farther than about 30 centimeters into the ground and the earth below has remained relatively static so as to preserve a variety of things that have begun to reveal themselves.  Some of the most notable new discoveries that have been made are in Steve and Val’s unit where a post mold was found. 
Postmold is the dark circular stain in the upper left
                Post molds such as the one we have found at our site are sometimes difficult to see due to the nature of the soil color and consistency.  You move from arbitrary levels to natural levels when the soil composition shows a strong change, especially in color.  Their dark brown post mold was seen rather strikingly against the reddish colored soil of the natural level.  But sometimes color change is not indicative of a change from arbitrary levels to natural levels.  Another means of seeing this is by change in texture.
                In Andrew's and my unit at the north end of the site, we have just recently reached the end of the plow zone to a striking find as well; a potential midden.  This potential midden was noted as having a large quantity of large bone, polished bone, well-made ceramic ware, and beads.  But as for moving from the arbitrary plow zone levels to the natural ones is an altogether different idea than that of Val and Steve’s unit.  Andrew and I noted this shift in levels by the texture of the soil which slowly transitioned from a rich, soft, loamy soil into a much sandier and clay filled level that is conversely richer in artifacts than the plow zone.  
                After the day’s work of progressing steadily deeper into natural levels, we ended up with some very impressive and promising finds that fill us all with excitement for what is to come next.  As we get ever close to the coveted areas that may yield some evidence of Spanish contact with the Cherokee of Tennessee, you can’t help but visualize the town we are excavating as more and more features such as the midden and post mold become more clear..
midden deposit

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