Author Archives: Dr. Darlene Brooks Hedstrom

First Wittenberg Student to Participate in an Excavation Funded by the Nancy L. Benco Archaeological Research Fund

2013 Grantee for the Nancy L. Benco Archaeological Research Fund

Emily O. Hall

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Emily O. Hall writes: “The expedition I went on in Greece was one of the best experiences, it was the first time I’ve ever went on a dig and I loved it! We worked in Kalamata, Greece at a site called Ancient Thouria, and it’s over 2,000 years old. We would go to the site at 8 am and stayed until 12:30pm. At the site we learned things such as stratigraphy, how to properly dig at the site, how to clean artifacts, take pictures of new finds and of the site, and draw our findings. We also met many greek students and archaeologist. After we were at the site we would have a break and then have an afternoon session where we would either have a class about archaeological methods, lectures or we would visit other archaeological sites around Kalamata. I learned a lot about the archaeological field and how important it is in developing history. I am glad I had this opportunity to go and wouldn’t have been able togo without the scholarship. Thanks for the opportunity!”

 

For more information on the funding and to apply, contact Dr. BH.

 

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The Northeast End of the Garage

On Saturday, sixteen students removed gravel on the north end of the garage to begin the excavation of the north end of the nineteenth-century garage. In the east end, students observed two very different sets of bricks. The south end of the garage, measuring 6 x 6 meters, is a nicely paved with bricks on the edge.  In the northeast end, they exposed a very different deposit of bricks, on their beds now, and arranged in very haphazard manner. Students clearly deduced that whoever was responsible for laying the “floor” in this end did not know much about brick masonry. TheP1190902

On Tuesday morning, eight students arrived on site to continue work and removed the bricks after photographs and other documentation was completed. Underneath this rough flooring they found more bricks and large deposit of pebble and sand deposit, likely used to stabilize the bricks above.  

Digging for Our Past-A 19th Century Garage at Wittenberg

On Saturday morning, 17 students began excavating at the site of Lot 3776, a late 19th century property at Wittenberg University’s campus. The students are part of a unique college program that let’s students earn 2 semester credits and start college a bit earlier than other members of their class. Co-leaders, Dr. Carmiele Wilkerson (English) and Dr. Brooks Hedstrom (History), are teaching students how to use archives, artifacts, and writing to craft essays about their past and Wittenberg’s.

Students clearing the west side of the garage floor.

Students clearing the west side of the garage floor.

A big thank you to Tom Stafford, writer for the Springfield News-Sun for reporting on the May Term class “Archaeological Field Methods” with an article entitled: “Students Dig Into Witt History.”

Caitlin Lobl documenting the finds from her day's excavation.

Caitlin Lobl documenting the finds from her day’s excavation.

Read the article below and hear how Wittenberg students experienced discovery and writing history this summer while participating in campus archaeology.

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Mark Swope Jr and William Hennigan using a plumb bob to draw a scaled plan of the deposit they excavated on the former front lawn of the first house of the Alpha Z’s (1919-1936).

Saving a Turn of the Century Garage at Wittenberg

P1190633Last week a 6 x 9 meter garage was removed for safety reasons on Wittenberg’s campus. However, inside was a beautiful brick-flooring that dates to the turn of the century. This gem will be added to our areas for work later this summer when Wittenberg’s Summer College “Digging for Our Past” participates in an excavation on campus. See the transformation of the site before and after below.

The garage has plumbing from a famous Memphis plumbing and gas company JA Bailey & Co. On the right you see the pump amidst the demolition of the garage (see below). A close-up of the company impression still wonderfully preserved in this garage.

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Documenting Deposits

P1190587One aspect of our work involves the documentation of finds through photography and drawing.

After fully exposing the deposit (above) to see its full extent, we photographed the deposit with overhead shots and close-ups.

P1190557Then William and Mark began drawing a plan of the deposit (above), which included roof slate, red bricks, mortar, stone chips, and pebbles. The meter screen, seen above, assists archaeologists in drawing an accurate plan. In this case, the students are leveling the screen, using a plumb bob and a tap to accurately plot the features of the deposit on a 1:20 plan.

Finally, we removed the deposit so that we could count and process the deposit to see if we could determine what period the deposit was made. Three features point to the deposit reflecting the 19th century house: 1.) The pebbles underneath are consistent with those used for leveling a walkway, that gave entrance to the front of the house. 2.) The mortar’s composition has larger inclusions than the finer concrete and mortar found in the first week, which dates to the 1936 house. 3.) All the nails found in the deposit are 19th century cut nails.

Since the house was remodeled in 1936, it is possible this rubble reflects changes made to the house then. The entrance also shifted from an east entrance on N. Wittenberg, to a north entrance on West College. See the two houses below:

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View west across North Wittenberg Avenue to the house. Notice the steps leading up the rise to the house.

Remodeled Georgian House after 1936 at 203 West College.

Remodeled Georgian House after 1936 at 203 West College.

Writing Final Reports

We have discovered individuals, their families, their travels, their illnesses, and the nails, slate, mortar, limestone, and paint chips that once made up the home and property that they owned. This is nearby archaeology at its best. We hope that you will explore this site to discover what we have learned about Lot 3777. It is now just a 50 x 150 feet lot without a house.

May Term 2013 Participants, Excavators and Authors:  Mark Swope, Deanna Iwanyckyj, William Hennigan, and Caitlin Lobl.

May Term 2013 Participants, Excavators and Authors:
Mark Swope, Deanna Iwanyckyj, William Hennigan, and Caitlin Lobl.

We ended our May Term class by finishing excavation reports and profiles on the homeowners. Some of the exploration will continue this summer on site and with internships this fall to further process the material and investigate the women of Alpha Xi Delta who lived in the house from 1919-1992. We also hope to gather some photo documentation and accounts from the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity who lived there unitl 2009. Final day Writing up Reports