Artifact Bonanza!

Okay – any archaeologist who tells you that the artifacts aren’t important or that he or she doesn’t get a thrill when something unique or interesting comes out of the ground is fibbing!  It’s true that artifacts are only one component of an excavation- a tool for dating soil features and layers, and a means to collect information about daily life, etc.  But– here’s the thing– it’s still very exciting when you find great stuff!

Today was a really good artifact day at the Lord Ashley Site.  Even though the units were still boggy and some continuously filled with water from the overly drenched surrounding ground, occasionally there was a shout from one side of the dig or another, and everyone would scramble over to see the latest find and learn more about it.  Take a look below for some of the highlighted artifacts from this morning.  These include an amazing 17th century decorated trade bead (about 1 cm in length), a large sherd from a utilitarian vessel made of Barbadian Redware, a rare glass button, a projectile point, and several pieces of a deftware plate that were excavated using specialized equipment!

Wish us dry weather for tomorrow and the rest of the dig!  I am hoping that Dr. Jon Marcoux will author tomorrow’s post – explaining about the use of magnetometry at the site and how it is helping us locate the moat and palisade.

Some of our lower units keep filling with water...

Some of our lower units keep filling with water…

A wire wrapped decorated trade bead

A wire wrapped decorated trade bead

Pieces of redware like this provide us with a direct link between Barbados and early Carolina

Pieces of redware like this provide us with a direct link between Barbados and early Carolina

This is a glass button that likely originated in Bavaria

This is a glass button that likely originated in Bavaria

This is a worked projectile point

This is a worked projectile point

These four pieces of deft ceramic can be mended

These four pieces of deft ceramic can be mended

Chopsticks can come in handy when you are trying to excavate delicate materials!

Chopsticks can come in handy when you are trying to excavate delicate materials!

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About Katherine Pemberton

Katherine Pemberton is Manager of Research & Education for Historic Charleston Foundation. Her primary interests are archaeology and the history of colonial South Carolina. She is co-chair of the Mayor's Walled City Task Force which focuses on the early fortifications of Charles Town- the only English walled city in North America.
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4 Responses to Artifact Bonanza!

  1. La Contessa says:

    FASCINATING………How exciting you found treasure!

  2. Mateo says:

    The projectile point is awfully interesting to me. In the Northeast, lithic and ceramic manufacture practically ceased with the introduction of brass kettles.

  3. Pingback: Ceramics and social interaction in the Lowcountry. « The Human Family

  4. andrewagha says:

    What made me think this large redware was Barbadian in origin is due to the fact that we had Scanning Electron Mircroscope work done by a specialist, my friend and colleague Dr. George Calfas, and his study shows that, based on the elemental signature of the ceramics from both Barbadian redware kilns (provided by another friend and colleague Michael Stoner) and those found at the Lord Ashley site in 2009 and 2011, we have Barbadian redware present at the site. The sherd in this post is unglazed and the rilling (or the ridges and grooves the hand creates when turning pottery on a wheel) is strong and pronounced. All of the lead glazed redwares do not exhibit rilling, if so, it is hardly noticeable on the exterior of the vessels. It may have come from Barbados; we usually don’t find redwares like this in association with early colonial sites in the Charleston area. We don’t recover sherds like this at Charles Towne Landing either. This ceramic, and other pieces of the same vessel, continue the show the reasons we are excavating this site. The presence of these ceramics may show evidence of the redware industry in Barbados emerging in early Carolina.

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