skip navigation

Blackmar-Eaton Project Phase III Data Recovery: Feature 3

Click here to see photos of feature 3 from phase III of the Blackmar-Eaton project.

Feature 3.

Feature 3 is interpreted as a mid-to-late 19th century ovular pit midden/privy associated with the sites second (c.1857-1880) and third occupation periods (c.1880-pre 1929). Here, a total of 2,997 artifacts were recovered from at least six distinct feature soil layers.

Period II (c. 1857-1880).

Artifacts include materials diagnostic of a mid 19th century production date range.  The earliest the layer could have been deposited was based on an 1867 “Indian head” US cent found within the pit’s lowest layer.   Materials  also include a variety of food related, well represented food remains (chicken, duck, pig, sheep, med/mammal, and architectural, and energy debris.

Ceramic artifacts are diagnostic of a mid to late 19th century production range, including a relatively homogeneous assemblage of stoneware (+ impostor), white granite (+ impostor), whiteware, and yellowware.  Vessels were also observed to possess similar decorative styles, including Rockingham, blue, red, and purple transfer printed, polychrome botanical painted, shell edge and annular/dipt slipware; it should also be noted that no 18th century pearlware was found in this stratum.

A number of small personal, tool, and clothing related finds were also observed, including a porcelain figurine, a pontil-blown marble, a completely intact green glass pontil-blown inkwell; a slate pencil, and two tobacco pipe fragments.

Period III (c. 1880 – pre 1929).

Although architectural artifacts continued to dominate all three strata assemblages, a number of food related and energy artifacts were also recovered in significant quantities.  Lesser quantities of faunal material were observed as well, and in comparison to Period II finds, were more varied, between processing debris and food consumption remains.   Ceramic artifacts exhibited a pattern of successively newer ware types being were found closer to the ground surface. Much more variation was noted in these layers amongst the type, material, and decorative properties of ceramic materials.  The earliest strata included a combination of late 19th – mid 19th century ceramics, such as pearlware and whiteware, with lesser quantities of yellowware and white granite.

In the next two strata, the content of the ceramic assemblage began to include newer wares, such as white granite and yellowware, coupled with a sharp drop-off in pearlware vessels. Small finds within Period II strata also included a glass candy dish, a terracotta flowerpot, some semi porcelain deco object, a copper alloy upholstery tack, an iron buckle and porcelain shirt button,  a cruet stopper  and a shotgun shell percussion cap, two iron buckles, a porcelain button, part of an iron trammel and a gimlet, along with three tobacco pipe fragments.

Food related artifacts recovered from Period III contexts include a variety of highly fragmentary ceramic and glass objects, that were broken into their present state either during property demolition, or during the 50+ years of plowing that occurred at the site. A similar pattern of fragmentary artifacts in plowzone deposits suggests that repeated plowing is the most likely culprit.

A wide variety of domestic and architectural debris was recovered, including a range of ceramic artifacts diagnostic of a late 18th to early 20th century production, though they do not appear to be in situ deposition.  Ceramic artifacts include a combination of pearlware, whiteware, white granite (+ impostor) decorated in a wide range of styles and color, including transfer and flow transfer printed examples at the high end of the cost spectrum, as well as more inexpensive slipware, shell edged and painted wares.   Several hygiene/medicinal artifact were also recovered, including a glass patent medicine bottle and fragments of a redware and a white granite chamber pot.

Personal artifacts recovered in Period III deposits include a small variety of clothing buckles, suspender fasteners and buttons, as well as four copper-alloy thimbles of various sizes and decorative motifs, as well as at least two ceramic figurines, as well as several tobacco pipe fragments.

Other types of debris include quantities of energy debris, such as coal, coal ash and slag, deposited in low-to-moderate concentration.  Evidence for 20th plow damage was also observed, including intrusive modern objects, such as plastic and Styrofoam.