Sunday, July 17, 2011

North to the Stockade Line

This past week we finally moved part of our crew to the northern bulldozer transect to explore for additional segments of the stockade lines, which were first discovered in 2009. You will remember that last year we traced two parallel lines of rather stout post molds which arced northeastward and across the oval enclosure. We demonstrated that the innermost line ran across the filled enclosure ditch and thus post-dated this Early Woodland feature. My gut feeling is that these lines represent a defensive perimeter that was constructed by the Late Prehistoric period inhabitants of the site. Very similar evidence for such constructions have been found at Late Prehistoric village settlements in the area, such as White Fort on the Black River in Elyria, Ohio. This season I wanted to expose additional segments of these lines to learn more about the shape and size of this defensive enclosure. So, we resumed shovel-scraping.

We quickly recognized the two post lines curving gently to the northeast. We even found evidence of a third, outermost line as well. The image below shows the post line in our first unit, 514N 506E. They are a bit hard to see in this image, but they were very clear on the freshly-scraped surface of the unit (indicated by the arrows). Beneath this line we could just make out an oval pit feature which, unfortunately we did not have time to investigate. We could tell, however, that the post line ran across this feature, thus post-dating it.

As I mentioned, I believe that these lines were constructed during the last major occupation of the site, but so far, I do not have any evidence to prove this. Only the super-positioning of the line over the Early Woodland enclosure ditch. Luckily, we noticed that one of the post molds in the middle line contained a large chunk of charcoal that was carefully extracted by Katie M. You can just see the dark gray chunk of charcoal at the top of the post molds in the image below. Hopefully, this sample will result in a radiocarbon date on this important feature. I will let you know in a month or two.