01 Oct Dig Update #4
Now that our school semester is back in session, we are only able to proceed with field work sporadically. However, the processing of artifacts in our lab at UNO is making significant progress. There is simply a huge amount of material to wash and re-bag, especially from the ca. 1790s occupation at the site.
In the meantime, we have been able to return to the site to do some follow-up excavations, culminating in a few days of intensive work this past weekend. There were two focal points of our follow-up investigations: to expose more of the earliest contexts dating to the French Colonial period, and to fully excavate a privy filled during the 1850s, located in the rear corner of the property. This latter feature has provided a wealth of material from the late antebellum, a period not otherwise well-represented in our excavations. The fill includes numerous reconstructable ceramic vessels. A number of transfer-printed examples were recovered, including many from a set with the print entitled “The Residence of the late Richard Jordan, New Jersey”. This pattern, featuring an abolitionist Quaker preacher in front of his home, has been found at many other antebellum sites in New Orleans. Dr. Gray, in researching the pattern, has surmised that the pattern was popular not so much for who it represented, but for the idealized version of semi-rural life that it represented.
The attempt to expose more of the French Colonial ground surface has proceeded more slowly. An extension of one of our original units (at grid coordinates N 7 W 4) also revealed a stratigraphic sequence indicating that the back portion of the lot had been built up substantially in or around the 1730s. We are currently still working on an additional unit in the front portion of the lot, where there may be a layer that predates the 1720s street grid. Currently, that excavation is only down to the level of the 1788 fire, but we will be continuing it in upcoming weeks.
Keep an eye out: we will be conducting a major day of excavations on Saturday, October 24th, and some of the most interesting artifacts from the excavations will be on site to view. Come by and say hello, and tell us that you saw this announcement on the website!