Saturday, July 11, 2009

Intrusive Features and the Enclosure

During weeks four and five, another two meter-long section of the enclosure trench (Fea. 09-10) was completely excavated. This section is located just northwest of the first trench section that produced the distinctive Leimbach series ceramics. This neighboring bit of trench turned out to be very similar in terms of its contents and stratigraphy, with one important exception. As shown in the section view below, the trench contained alternating layers or light and dark soil which represent episodes of filling.

The large hole in this profile was made by an intrusive pit feature that contained thin, finely cordmarked pottery of the Esch Cordmarked variety. We believe these ceramics are associated with the Middle Woodland occupation of the site due to their resemblance to pottery from the Esch Mounds, formerly located about four miles downriver. We found similar sherds during weeks one and two associated with bladelets, our best Middle Woodland diagnostic.

At the bottom of the trench, we found a cluster of thick, cordmarked sherds of the Leimbach series. As seen in the following image, they represent a large section of a vessel. One base sherd was rounded, unlike the flat-bottomed base sherd found next door.

Thus, the 'superpositioning' of these ceramic wares (i.e., Leimbach in the earlier trench and Esch in the later pit feature) nicely illustrates the succession of Woodland period occupations at the site. It also tells us that the enclosure trench was deliberately filled during the Early Woodland time period and not by later Middle Woodland arrivals, as is apparently the case with the large parallel ditches to the west. What this says about the function of the enclosure is still not clear.