Saturday, June 21, 2008

Stone Slabs, Pits, and More Points

One of the strangest features we have found so far at the Burrell Orchard site is the cluster of siltstone slabs that were found in the northwest corner of unit 500N 496E (shown above). The use of these rather soft and fragile stones by prehistoric people to construct a feature is rare in northern Ohio. When this interesting configuration of stones was found, we guessed that it might represent a cover for a pit feature or a cooking surface of some kind. It somewhat resembles Feature 08-01, the cluster of small burned slabs found in unit 500N 514E and discussed in an earlier post. But the the stones in this larger feature do not appear to have been subjected to fire. When the stones were removed late this week, nothing was found beneath, only the same dark midden that extends across the rest of the unit. So, perhaps this feature functioned as a hard surface or platform for preparing food or some kind of work surface on the floor of a house. We just don't know at this time.

One cluster of FCR and dark, wet soil in unit 500N 504E turned out to be a pit feature. It extended to 60 cm below datum and reached what appears to be the culturally sterile subsoil beneath the midden. The image below shows the profile of the pit in cross-section. The yellowish-brown subsoil is shown beneath the dark fill and FCR of the pit. The dark, 'fingers' which extend beneath the fill and into the subsoil are stains from decayed roots.

Found in the fill of this pit were numerous flint flakes and fragments of deer bone and possibly the jaw of a fox. Also found was a complete flint drill and the base of a stemmed lanceolate projectile point (shown below). Both very good diagnostic artifact finds which place this pit in the same time period as the rest of the midden which surrounds it.