May turned hot and humid, and I was once more excavating with Mom. Historic digs, it turns out are mostly just like prehistoric ones, except you find different types of artifacts and can use written history to learn about the site and who lived there.
Instead of projectile points and bits of broken clay pots, we found nails, window glass, bottle glass, European–made ceramics (bits of dishes), pewter, clay pipe fragments, etc. Did you know that during Colonial times the men smoked these long, really long–stemmed white clay pipes? Weird!
We also found buttons, glass shirt buttons and large pewter coat buttons. These came off men’s clothing. Most women’s clothing didn’t have buttons. Their dresses laced up or were pinned—with straight pins! Zippers and even safety pins hadn’t been invented yet.
We found Indian stuff too. It seems the frontier folk liked to collect projectile points and other artifacts just like some people do now. Of course, sometimes a frontier family would build their cabin right on top of a prehistoric site. I guess they both appreciated a good piece of land. Anyway, that’s where we worked every day, shoveling off the top layer of soil, you know the plowzone, and looking for features.
Some local people volunteered each day at the dig to screen the soil for artifacts and help in any way they could. The local archaeological society brought at least seven people each day. They took turns digging, screening, and even washing artifacts under a big tent they erected. The tent’s sides rolled up and allowed for lots of natural light and sometimes a breeze. I liked to hide out there at lunch. They kept cold soft drinks in a big cooler.
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