Friday, September 23, 2011

Fort Hunter Excavation Update

Despite a dreary week of fieldwork marked by spotty rain showers nearly every day, progress continued at the Fort Hunter excavation this week. Fortunately, the weather cooperated for Fort Hunter Day, this past Sunday. Hundreds of visitors had the opportunity to view the excavation in progress.

In the main block behind the mansion, units surrounding the well feature were taken down and a persistent FCR (fire cracked rock) cluster was mapped including elevation readings for each piece.

FCR cluster in main excavation block

Meanwhile, in the front yard of the mansion a trench excavation was begun to further expose a large feature discovered last year that may hold clues to the perimeter of the fort and its overall dimensions and orientation on the property. In this trench it is apparent that the landscape has been heavily modified. A fill layer directly underneath the modern “A” horizon has yielded a hodgepodge of artifacts from the archaic period (and possibly earlier) right through the late 18th century. Seen below is a sample of the objects recovered from the fill layer in the trench in the front yard. Unfortunately these artifacts were not found in context.

The oldest artifact from the trench, a limace, can be seen below. A limace is a thick side scraper thought to be used in scraping hard materials such as wood, bone or antler. They are found on Early and Middle period Paleoindian (11,200 – 10,400) sites, especially in new England and the Great Lakes but rarely are they common on any one site.

dorsal side of limace

ventral side of limace

archaic period projectile points

Horseshoe and stirrup

brass gilt button and scratch blue salt glazed stoneware rim sherd

Just a reminder, for those interested the State Museum of PA will be hosting Workshops in Archaeology Saturday, November 5th. This all day program will feature guest speakers lecturing on a variety of topics of prehistoric archaeology in Pennsylvania. A link to the registration form can be found here.

For more information, visit or the Hall of Anthropology and Archaeology at The State Museum of Pennsylvania .

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