We are in the process of wrapping up the 2011 Pig Point field season after a rough September. Back to back hurricanes and over 23 inches (!) of rain caused serious damage to the site, resulting in slumped walls and major clean up time. Before the floods, we excavated the new Upper Block units through 15 levels and finished nearly five feet below the ground surface. We were FINALLY hitting non-cultural horizons about one foot beneath a hearth that radiocarbon dated to over 9,000 years old. No diagnostic artifacts were found in these levels, but several pieces of debitage suggest that we may actually have intact Paleoindian horizons at the site. We'll keep looking for those levels in 2012.
In the meantime, Shawn has been excavating four new Lower Block units. He made it through the Woodland period midden and has recently been investigating thick Late Archaic horizons that are filled with projectile points. This assemblage will make an interesting comparison with the Archaic triangles and Piscataways found during the 2009 season (check out Al, Jessie, and Shawn's paper about this topic here: http://www.losttownsproject.org/publications/articles/Triangle%20points%20-%20Luckenbach,%20Grow,%20and%20Sharpe.pdf). Two weeks ago, he discovered several large quartz rocks set in a pit that may date to the Middle Archaic time period. One of the stones weighed at least 25 lbs and was surrounded by hammerstones and quartz debitage. Quartz cobbles like this can be found within a day's journey of Pig Point but not on the sandy bluff itself. We think this might be local material hauled to Pig Point by the Middle Archaic residents to use as an on-site quartz quarry! This could also partially explain the pounds and pounds of quartz debitage found in Middle Archaic horizons across the site.
|Quartz cobbles during excavation|
|Quartz cobbles partially exposed (we paused excavation between |
|New excavation block showing prehistoric |
and historic features
|Erin excavating Townsend pottery found in the new excavation block|