Wednesday, July 29, 2015

And Another Floor “Surfaces”

We are extending our field work into the late summer with the help of volunteers from FARC (Firelands Archaeological Research Center). Last Sunday we resumed excavation on a 1x1m excavation unit we started way back on June 7 (Figure 1). Given all the rain we had this summer, this unit was almost continuously flooded until last week! Once work began, we quickly exposed what appears to be a section of yet another clay floor (Figure 2). It is made from the same yellow clay as those found earlier this summer. This new floor is located about 30 meters south of our summer excavation block in an area of slightly higher elevation at a depth of between 40 and 50cm below datum. Several possible post molds were recorded on this clay surface, which suggests the erection of structures of some kind.
Figure 1. Excavation resumes at unit 469N 504E; work at unit 465N 533E is shown in the background.

Figure 2. Newly exposed clay floor.

We chose this spot to dig based on the results of the ground-penetrating radar (GPR) survey conducted last fall. The radar revealed a distinct area of strong reflections that appeared similar to the buried clay surface identified last summer. The GPR map in Figure 3 shows radar reflections in red and the 1x1m square of test unit 469N 504E. It appears that this unit overlaps an irregularly-shaped, planar (flat-lying) anomaly that may represent the clay stratum found last Sunday. This anomaly measures about 2.7m long by 1.5m wide, which seems a bit small for the floor of a structure; however, as we saw to the north, the radar reflection itself does not necessarily represent the entirety of the clay stratum detected. In other words, the clay floor could be much larger than the red zone shown in Figure 3.
Figure 3. GPR map showing radar anomalies in red and outline of unit 469N 504E (base map produced by Jarrod Burks).

Perhaps the most important conclusion to draw from these new data is that clay surfaces (floors?) were constructed at additional locations across the site and not just at the southern edge of the old orchard. Of course, further excavation will be necessary to verify that this clay stratum is also a structural floor, but the numerous possible post molds found on its surface seem to be pointing in that direction.