Brick Rubble

Uncovering ceramics. Source: Benjamin Skolnik

Uncovering ceramics in brick rubble. Source: Benjamin Skolnik

So far in my experiences in field school, it seems that I am destined to find some sort of brick rubble in my unit.  For the first three weeks of field school, I was excavating Unit 18 at the Pinkney House.  We were only a few soil layers into the unit when we discovered multiple layers of bricks that were most likely a fill layer of some sort due to the haphazard positions of the bricks.  After we removed the first layer of bricks, we encountered yet another layer of bricks.  However, while dealing with bricks may be time consuming when trying to dig through brick-filled layers, finding bricks is not all that bad.  Within the brick rubble layers, we found numerous large pieces of ceramic, some glass, and even an interesting key.  Some of the ceramic pieces were able to be pieced back together so we could see what kind of vessel it was.  It was thought to possibly be a chamber pot; however, it was peculiar if it was a chamber pot due to the small size.  All the hard work digging out the brick rubble proved to be very rewarding.  After we finally dug through all the rubble, we found numerous styles of ceramic ranging from yellowware to pearlware, iron stone, and even some porcelain.  They were mostly a variety of small specimens; however, we did manage to find some large pieces of plates that were able to be pieced together.  We hypothesized the unit was likely some kind of fill area and may have been where the previous tenants threw out their trash.  Unit 18 ended up being approximately four feet at the deepest area and had a lot of difficult layers to dig through, but was very rewarding overall in the amount of artifacts and variety of artifacts unearthed.

Pinkney House chamber pot. Source: Benjamin Skolnik

Pinkney House "chamber pot." Source: Benjamin Skolnik

For the next couple weeks, I will be digging at Wye.  My new unit has barely begun digging, as we just started this week, but we have already hit a brick rubble layer only three small layers into the unit.  Again, the unit appears it might present some challenges as the rubble layer seems to go down a ways and only appears to cover about half of the unit.  This means we may have to later excavate the brick rubble-filled areas separately from the areas that do not include the rubble in the high quantities.  Although we have not been digging that long and dealing with the rubble has caused us to dig at a slower pace than we may have wanted, we have already uncovered some artifacts.  One in particular is a bottle that had the name of the Coca-Cola company written on it.  In addition to the bottle, we have found numerous other pieces of glass that may have once been bottles.  Another interesting piece found was a large metal object that may have potentially been from some kind of farm equipment.  Finally, we have already managed to find a couple small pieces of ceramic that have a blue design on them.  I am hoping that this unit will be as artifact-rich as my unit at the Pinkney House given my positive prior experience with rubble layers and the fact we are already finding interesting artifacts so early into the excavation.  I will have to wait and see what happens during the new couple weeks.


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