Results from July 6, 2006


The promised "perfect weather" for archaeology did arrive today -- low humidity, a great breeze, and more than comfortable temperatures.

The entire crew worked diligently today to get us quite a bit closer to finishing up on Friday. Many of us took a short lunch -- and several stayed until 7:00 pm.

We completed most of the remaining work on our wall-trench structure today -- at least the parts of this giant building that we have exposed this summer. Other parts of the walls and interior will remain for future investigation. The image below shows a schematic (and not quite to scale) view of this building. The black squares are our excavation units while the yellow areas are the wall trenches and central posts. We have three good corners on the northwest, southwest, and southeast. Since these buildings were rectangular, we can reliably predict the location of the northeast corner.

The building was rebuilt at least three times, so there are four trenches on the west for the four different constructions of this building. We even suspect that there is a fifth construction of the building -- and maybe even more -- outside our excavations to the west. While we only found two trenches on the north and east -- there may be others outside our excavations. On the south, we currently only have a single trench -- but again, there are probably others outside the excavation area.

The photo below shows the excavations under completion of the complex set of trenches on the west wall. In the foreground, Lynne is finishing up "West Trench 4" while Alex and Katie map the trenches in the background. To the left of Lynne, the farthest left trench was completed in the morning by Tracy.

The trench excavated by Tracy yielded our best preserved evidence of the posts in these trenches. Eight small postmolds (the holes left behind when the posts decayed or were pulled from the ground) are shown outlined in yellow.

These postmolds shown below without the outlines -- you should be able to see the dark stains and carbonized wood.

On the south wall, we finished exposing the southwest corner today. Three of the four west wall trenches are at the top of the photo (the one on the right overlaps the south wall trench).

And below, the same trench during excavation by Ryan and Lacey (view towards the east along the south wall)

Earlier in the day, Lacey and Natalie finished the middle portion of the south wall.

On the east wall, Richard, Brandy and Mike worked most of the day to figure out what was going on over there -- Mike stayed late with Lynne to finish up this confusing area on the southeast corner of the building. What we found heading north in the photograph below appeared to be too wide for a single wall trench.

As it turns out, there were actually three overlapping wall trenches in this area. As outlined below, the two "yellow trenches" are earlier walls, with a more shallow intrusive "blue trench" above them. A tough set of features to figure out -- but we are now confident that we have the southeast corner and the east wall identified.

The central posts for this house proved to be even more enormous than we imagined -- the main post is 5 feet deep where the "X marks the spot." This giant cedar post probably reached 20 feet or more above the ground when the building was here.

Just to the north of our wall trench house, we also found a small lined hearth or fireplace. The yellow outline is the hearth -- the blue outline is either part of the hearth or an adjacent ash-filled post. The yellow arrows points to a section of the bright orange-red burned clay lining of the fireplace.

After partial excavation today, the fireplace looked like this -- note the brightly colored burned clay lining on the left side -- the brightly colored ash inside is the remains of the last fire that burned here some 800 or so years ago. A marvelous and sobering thought that such spectacular finds remain preserved at Castalian Springs.

At any rate, at the close of the day, our wall trench house looked something like that below -- about 8 meters east-west and 10 meters north-south.

Over to the west, many crew members continued working to get Feature 4 ready for the "big crunch" excavation on Friday. Erica and Ryan work below on profiles and notes.

With the mapping and photographs completed, we'll take the remainder of the rocks and fill from the bottom of the structure on Friday and see what else we can learn about this other building.

Another long day coming up tomorrow... Now, at 10:23 pm, your web reporter is signing off!