Saturday, June 18, 2011

A Ghost from the Past

Back at the beginning of our 2009 season, I believe I mentioned that this site had been excavated before by Kent State University summer field schools in the late '60s and early '70s. I may also have commented that we don't know exactly where on this farm the group worked, since no field notes are available. This week we encountered the remains of what I believe is a back-filled excavation unit from that not-so-distant time.

As we removed the plow zone soils from unit 502N 503E, we noticed a dark area of staining in the southern half of the unit. What was unusual is that this stain had one straight edge--something very unlikely for a truly ancient prehistoric feature in northern Ohio. As we cleared and troweled the floor, what appeared to be the corner of an excavation unit materialized. In the image below, you can see this corner in the upper left (northwest) portion of our excavation square. Covering it are several large, amorphous soil stains, which we now know to be back-filled feature excavations. The soils here are very soft and wet, just as would be expected from re-filling a hole with plow zone soils.

In the southwest corner of our unit, we removed the dark soil and found two small features which had only been partially excavated during the earlier project. You might say that we are doing archaeology of archaeologists from the late 1960's--real groovy man!