Public Archaeology Puzzle

The first week of the 2009 JPPM Public Archaeology Program has, like so many of the weeks in previous seasons, uncovered more mysteries than answers! We’ve been excavating the 18th-century Smith’s St. Leonard site, in an area where enslaved workers once lived. Evidence of their house (or houses) was found previously, but this season we have begun exposing a large, shallow, pit-like feature. It is at least 15 feet across, and probably bigger than that. We don’t yet know what produced this pit, but similar features, interpreted as wallows for penned animals, were found elsewhere at JPPM and at an 18th-century site in Prince Frederick. But it is going to take a lot more excavation before we figure out what we have found this year. Artifacts like bottle fragments and nails are visible at the top of the feature, so we are anxious to explore it. One artifact recovered last week was a small brass ornament, shaped roughly like an arrow. These ornaments were attached to leather straps, bags, etc., for both horses and people. They came in a variety of shapes. A similar one was found a number of years ago at the King’s Reach site, which was home of the Smith family before they moved to the Smith’s St. Leonard site in 1711. You’ll find more information about these leather ornaments on JPPM’s Diagnostic Artifacts website.

Leather ornament from Smith’s St. Leonard site

Come back to this page next week to learn about our latest Public Archaeology Program finds. Or volunteer at the site and be a part of the discoveries!


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