Monday, July 15, 2013

House Floors, the Spruce Mill, and Other Excavation Notes

Concentration of beads being discovered at the Little Prouxl House Site.

Hearth exposed below house floor
(about 70 cm top to bottom -- west is up)
Over the past two weeks we have been exploring the house floor of the Little Proulx House Site and clearing more units to expand on these excavations.  There have been a number of notable finds, including a cluster of about 70 white beads (what appear to be small, hot-tumbled tube beads) in the southwest corner of one of the excavation units.  The location of this cluster is mapped using the annotation tool on the PDF Expert program. Just to the west of this, a concentration of baked clay (or "bisque" as it is used in the Pacific Northwest, probably from the house fire when it burned), a charred beam, and concentrations of  bisque and charcoal likely associated with the destruction of the house.  In one area nearby, a nicely-defined hearth with a charcoal-black rim and reddish-brown interior was discovered below the clay floor.  This may be a hearth that preceded the construction of the house or an earlier iteration of the structure before the clay floor was
laid down.

We are also shovel probing the Spruce Mill Area, exploring some of the magnetic anomalies identified by Kendal McDonald a few weeks ago.  The probes are about 40 cm in diameter and are dug to at least 50 cm in depth.  The first week of probing we found many interesting strata tied to fill associated with the World War I mill site and later uses of the property for aviation and other U.S. Army and City of Vancouver uses. We found surprisingly few metal objects or other sources that could be tied to the anomalies.  This past week we used a metal detector to really home in on the magnetic sources and were rewarded with many metal objects, including cast spikes, a likely aviation fuel line, and other objects.
Excavation of a shovel probe at the Spruce Mill cut-up mill site.
Pearson Air Museum, including the repurposed World War I hanger  in the background.
Back at the dig site, we used iDraw to map the top of one of the World War I Spruce Mill spur lines that rest above the Little Prouxl House Site.  Besides being an excellent training excercise, we are troubleshooting the use of iDraw for illustration of plan and profile maps.

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