Week 3, Day 3 — Lindsey Weirich

Today we all made our way to Brookgreen Gardens, home to acres and acres of rice fields and wildlife.  In the past the land was a plantation called The Oaks which included a “slave street”, separated from the plantation house and inhabited by a community of 250 people.

We placed a shovel test pit in the part of the site closest to the road to check artifact density.

Hardwoods and pines surround the 19th-century 'street' of The Oaks plantation at Brookgreen.

It was separated by a long embankment, called a berm, which we  gladly started investigating first.  We paced ourselves, walking around humongous live oaks and nasty spiderwebs.  Chris, Jess, and I came upon a baby deer resting in the forest.  It was so cute!! Then we heard Dr. Ward calling us back to the site with her Xena Warrior Princess yell.  We had walked so far down this embankment that our walkie-talkies were not in range.

Brick rubble piles mark the sites of the homes of enslaved Africans.

Our morning hours were filled with survey! It’s like an Easter egg hunt but with little red flags.  We found some hand-painted ceramic, glass of many types, and iron pieces–like a door hinge.  Jess, Andrew, Chris, and Julia went on the air as they dug their first shovel test pit.  This technique is an easy way to look at the layers of soil, see if it holds any artifacts, and it’s small enough not to disturb other soil and artifacts.
After the initial survey, we started getting into teams to map the homes to scale. We also had a photography team take clear pictures of each home and the arrangement of trees, bricks, and any artifacts that might be visible, like a piece of an old iron cooking pot that was still left in the fireplace!

Brick piers, crushed shells in the mortar, and an iron plow handle brought the homes into focus.

It was a hot day today, but everyone gave their best to get the work done.  Time to get a shower and check for ticks!

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