Brick Excavation for Dummies

My experiences in field school these past weeks have allowed me to humbly consider myself somewhat of a brick expert. I have seen many different brick colors, sizes, formations, and techniques for excavating brick. Even though it is not an expertise that I ever thought I would achieve proficiency in, it is definitely an interesting one.

Unit 3 brick formation in Annapolis

Unit 3 brick formation in Annapolis. Source: Archaeology in Annapolis

My first exposure to brick was a very exciting and reasonable one. In our Annapolis field location, my group members and I excavated unit 3, where we found an accumulation of brick near our south wall. When we first uncovered the masses of bricks, it seemed like random rubble to us considering that there was no articulation in any way. In other words, the exposed bricks were not lying flat or in any discernable pattern. Had they been lying flat and next to each other, this might have indicated a path or flooring. Additionally, had there been some flat brick possibly stacked in front of our seemingly disarticulated brick formation, it could have been a fallen wall of some sort. Regrettably, it was neither of the two. However, we were eager to discover what it could be which required us to continue excavating. In order to be able to remove the bricks and preserve the context in which they appeared, we had to excavate the unit down until we saw the bottom. This is done so that we can see which layer of soil—and consequently the relative date—the bricks originated from.

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