Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Surveying the Spruce Mill Site

Over the past weeks, teams of students have been learning archaeological survey skills at the site of the World War I Spruce Mill, a significant home-front site associated with the processing of old growth Sitka Spruce cut from the forests of the Coast Range of Oregon and Washington and the Olympic Peninsula. 
Besides learning basic pedestrian survey techniques, the crews have also conducted subsurface surveys searching for remnants of the old cut-up mill building, the shops, and tent city for the 3,000 troops that manned the mill. An excellent history of the site by Ward Tonsfeldt helped to guide probing along with remote sensing work by Kendal McDonald reported in an earlier post.
Students excavated probes at locations defined by the magnetometer anomalies recorded earlier in the summer and at locations discovered during monitoring of the removal of some hangars a few years ago. The results confirm that there is abundant evidence of the WWI facility including concrete foundations, concentrations of wire nails and railroad spikes, and even an axe head. Notably, we have been able to see some of the vegetation anomalies associated with the Spruce Mill appearing more distinctive as the ground dries up.

Dry grass in more closely cropped areas suggest where Spruce Mill foundations sit. The ones inside the fort denote where the loading docks to the East and South of the main mill building were located.

The foundations of the sawdust burner are clearly visible as linear dry grass areas adjacent to the reconstructed bake house. 

No comments:

Post a Comment