Colonial Virginia

Karen Lind Brauer – A Day of Archaeology, July 14, 2014

Consulting Historic St. Mary’s City (Maryland, USA) publications, Anne Arundel County’s Lost Towns Project publications (Maryland, USA), and NPS Historic Jamestown’s History and Culture resources (Commonwealth of Virginia, USA) while researching 17th and early 18th century Chesapeake society and economy for sharing ancestral cultural and historical context with family historians.

Karen Lind Brauer
Maryland, USA

Anthroprobably: Archaeology in Historic Hampton Roads, Virginia

Hello again; Matt Tuttle here. I’m excited to participate in the Day of Archaeology for the second straight year [Anthroprobably DOA 2013]! While it has been an entire year since I posted, not a whole lot has changed. I’m still working on the long-term, full excavation of a site in Jamestown, VA  that dates to 1611 (see photo below); but I have also tackled a number of other projects this past year as well.

Ongoing excavation at a Jamestown site dated to 1611.

Ongoing excavation at a Jamestown site dated to 1611.

One of these projects was a phase I archaeological survey in a park which contains what is considered to be the earliest free black settlement in the U.S.  The park plans to expand parking areas and a few trails on the grounds; the survey was completed to ascertain that no culturally sensitive materials or sites would be destroyed by the proposed construction. Generally these types of surveys consist of laying a grid over the site and digging STP’s (shovel test pits) every 50 feet in every direction inside the project area. We record the depth, soil layers and descriptions, any and all artifacts or features found, and produce profile maps for each STP excavated. We then investigate any finds discovered in the project area and complete a site report describing our results and conclusions.

I also just recently finished my largest solo CRM (cultural resource management) project to date along the James River in an area known as Governor’s Land Archaeological District in James City County. The project involved excavating 2.5 x 2.5 feet squares every 10 feet for approximately 1/4 of a mile along a proposed roadway and sewage pipeline. If you are wondering how many squares that works out to be, I’ll tell you: 113! Since the roadway will be located in an area known to be historically important, it was imperative that we made sure nothing would be missed. The project took just over two months to complete (see photos below).

Units every 10 feet.

Units every 10 feet.

Unit with bricks exposed.

Unit with bricks exposed.

I enjoy reading about everyone else’s Day of Archaeology and look forward to participating again in the future! [Feel free to follow me on Twitter: @Anthroprobably]

Anthroprobably: Day of Archaeology 2013

My name is Matt Tuttle and I work as an archaeologist in the historic Hampton Roads, Virginia area in the U.S.  This region is a wonderful area to do such work because the land has been continuously occupied by humans for millennia.  My hometown of Virginia Beach is the location of the first landing of the Virginia Company colonists in the New World before establishing themselves at Jamestown.  Not only is the first permanent English settlement in America, Jamestown (1607), located here; but neighboring Williamsburg served as the colonial capital of Virginia after Jamestown until 1779.  Under the layers of colonial occupation in Hampton Roads we also find a long prehistoric record of Native American sites.  The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the United States and its shores have been densely populated since paleo-times.

What I do as an archaeologist can vary greatly project by project and season to season.  I’ve worked for CRM (Cultural Resource Management) firms in the area for years; generally projects with these companies deal with salvage archaeology. This is where a plot of land which is slated for development or construction is surveyed and excavated to ascertain that no cultural material is being built upon or destroyed.  Lately I have been digging as an independent contractor in the area and have gotten to work on some incredible sites.  I am currently assisting in the excavation of a site in Jamestown dated to 1611; this is a fantastic project to be a part of.  We have been excavating the site all Spring and Summer in 10′ x 10′ squares and are slowly uncovering a great story here.  My job lately consists of recovering and documenting artifacts, mapping soil plans and profiles, and a lot of hand-troweling at the subsoil level to look for features or stains in the clay.  I’m very happy and proud to take part in documenting America’s beginnings and hope to continue my work in the area for some time! [ I blog at: http://anthroprobably.wordpress.com ]

Recent find from Jamestown; a stoneware Bartmann jug.

Recent find from Jamestown; stoneware Bartmann jug piece.