The past week of Field School has already taught me a few things. Working in Unit 24 at Schwar’s East next to Patrick’s Unit (read about it in his blog post below!), I’ve begun to understand how to properly excavate a site, a necessary archaeological skill that is difficult to understand in a classroom. However, besides gaining practical archaeological experience, I am gaining a better sense of the deep histories that land has.
Although I have lived in Maryland and learned about the state’s history in school before, I never really felt connected to it. Columbia, my hometown, is a relatively new community with very hardly any buildings more than a few decades old. And it is easy to look past the history of Baltimore, where I now live, when surrounded by seemingly continuous construction and renovation. Annapolis is a completely different type of city.
Since very early on, historic preservation has been very important to Annapolis. Every morning, I drive past the State House, designed by Charles Wallace at the center of the city, park, and walk to Martin Street, past dozens of well kept historic houses. All up and down the brick sidewalk lined streets, you can see repairing the shingles on roofs or repainting the pastel siding. The history of Annapolis is very much alive in the city today.
Digging in the backyards and basements of Annapolis, my fellow Field School students and I are working to uncover some of the details of the city’s past. So far, in Unit 24, my partners Richard, Molly and I have excavated several layers of coal ash deposits, remnants previous coal use. Buried in these layers, we have begun to find nails, glass, and ceramic fragments, hints toward what happened on this property since it’s settlement. I am excited to see what else we will uncover in Unit 24 in the remaining two weeks we will have at Schwar’s East.