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Flint House Archaeological Report, 2002 — 2003:
Tales from the Glenville Woods

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[This information is from pp. 16-31 of Flint House Archaeological Report, 2002 — 2003: Tales from the Glenville Woods by Stephen D. Jones, Ph.D., RPA, and others, and is reproduced here with his permission.]

VI. Archaeology

The only previous local archaeology on record was about 2 miles northwest of the Flint house. This was a project of Hartgen Archeological Associates (HAA 2002) involving "undisturbed precontact [Native American] features buried by alluvial deposits". I should put "on record" in quotation marks because there are actually more than a dozen sites marked within a 1-mile radius on the maps at the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) … but no information for them is provided, either at OPRHP or, apparently, at the State Museum. This is a major oversight, since this part of Glenville has rich historic and prehistoric significance.

It is one thing to ask how much happened here, another to ask how much could have been preserved here. Shallow features seem unlikely to have survived centuries of plowing across much of the land. On the other hand, our limited excavations in the Flint barn area have shown that features can survive despite plowing. Certainly the ground around standing structures should be rich with features, and present-day woods may contain earlier structures. It is hard to conjecture whether or not features on the mud flats would have been completely obliterated — assuming there ever were any. Lands to the north and west have been taken over by housing, which means limited accessibility as well as limited archaeological potential, although most of the houses are of modest size and their yards might retain many features. In fact, this part of Glenville was laid down by millennia of alluvium, so Native American sites may lie buried at varying depths in any part of area. In short, all parcels (except perhaps the mud flats) should have the potential for revealing artifacts that could give clues to historic and prehistoric activities. The area is an untapped (until now) mine of data on our past — most of which is absent from the history books.

Our overall research goal is to reveal the history of European American development on "first land settled upon west of Scotia" (Pearson 1883:70). This involves issues such as how Europeans and their descendants settled the frontier west of Schenectady, how they exploited these new lands, and how (or whether) these activities developed into modern Scotia. I write "or whether" because, until the mid 20th century, much of Scotia was farmland or wood lots, and current Scotia might be described (historically speaking) as a suburban afterthought.

Approaching the area for the first time, we have kept our current research goals focused and modest. The focus is the Flint House and the property now linked with it, since this is the most interesting structure in the area (and was made available for archaeology). The principal goals have been (1) to date the Flint House and/or any predecessors, and (2) to determine what activities were developing here. Archaeologically, the most direct way to date the house would be to dig around its foundations, in hopes of finding datable artifacts that fell into the builders' trenches. Since the historic architect and others have pronounced these foundations unstable, we chose instead to dig the foundations of the house's porches.

The porches had already been demolished so collapse was not a concern. The last porch had been removed when the Village took over ownership because it was collapsing without the aid of archaeology (Norris pers. com.; cf. Photo 2). The Globe article on Reynolds's murder provides a photograph with a different, Victorian porch whose fate is unknown to us (Photo 1). And the historic architect, Robert Pierpont (1997:3-4), notes that the Victorian porch is too recent to have been the original porch, which may have been merely a stoop or "more likely an architecturally imposing structure". Therefore there was a good chance that we could delineate a building sequence without threatening the fragile house foundations. Two other, smaller projects broached the question of local activities by examining the broad lawn to the south and the former barn area to the west.

Most of our efforts have been put into hand excavation in the northern section of the porch area (called Unit 1). The porch excavations can be informative in at least one of five ways: (1) we might find artifacts in the porch-foundation trenches that give us dates for when they were built; (2) numerous porch-building episodes will imply that the house had been here for a long time; (3) the discovery of a porch that does not align with the current entrance, but does align with the house, will imply that the house was remodeled, and therefore predates its current Greek Revival exterior; (4) discovery of a porch at a different alignment than the current house will indicate that there had been a different structure here prior to the Greek Revival; (5) discovery of the foundations of a non-porch structure will give clues as to what was going on here before the current house was built.

Elsewhere on the property, two Union College students expanded our horizons by looking for other structures and features. Jason Farrow was particularly set on finding the family cemetery. His methodology involved "shovel-testpits" ("STPs") excavated across the lawn that spreads to the south of the house (Units 2 and 3). Often employed by Cultural Resource Management firms (which investigate the archaeological resources on a property prior to development), STPs are small pits, roughly 1' in diameter, placed at intervals across the property; to some extent shovel-testpits are "shots in the dark," but they're a very useful way to start. The other student project was initiated by Blakeny Peschel who explored the former barnyard west of the house with two small excavation units and three STPs (Unit 4). The intention was to locate farm outbuildings and determine their functions.

Excavations were all made by hand or, in the case of STPs, by shovel. In all areas the excavated soils were sieved through quarter-inch screen to retrieve small artifacts. No remote sensing or soil analysis was possible due to budgetary considerations. (To be specific: there was no budget at all.)

A. Porch Excavations (submitted by Steve Jones, principal investigator)

At the start of the project in summer 2002, a grid was established with an X axis parallel to the house, Y axis perpendicular to it (Plan 1). The zero point of the X axis was placed in line with, but 20" south of, the front of the house. Specifically, the X zero was derived from the X 27' mark, placed where a line from the northern side of the porch sidewalk met at a 90° angle with the front of the house (the sidewalk still exists in situ and was immediately adjacent to where we'd be digging); from the intersection we measured off 3' lengths until we passed the southern edge of the house. The zero point for the Y axis is the front of the house itself, viewed as being half an inch from the foundation stones. Excavation squares were 3x3', sequenced alphabetically on the X axis, starting A just south of the house, and numbered sequentially on the Y axis, with number 1 being closest to the house.

An altitude datum was set at the height of the top of the northwestern edge of the sidewalk, with the top serving as zero. This was also roughly the elevation of the ground surface. However, due to unevenness of surface and the certainty of soil subsidence during digging, we only measured altitude from this sidewalk point (or stakes set up as surrogates). We tried to give this altitude more permanent status by recording it in relation to a stake driven into the base of a large tree to the south; our reasoning here was sound, to the extent that the tree remains and hasn't moved appreciably, but this stake itself has disappeared. The best laid grids of mice and men.

Measurements were recorded in feet and inches rather than metrics, because they presumably had been used by the builders and occupants of the site. Eventually the coordinate system should be matched with the universal metric coordinates for the area. Still, the ease and historical significance of using a grid oriented to the house and its builders make this the recommended method for anyone digging here in the future. This practice immediately proved valuable in identifying and following features, because the builders clearly used foot and half-foot increments for construction.

During the preliminary excavation, July 13, 2002, we delimited an excavation area of nine squares on the grid, each with 1-yard (3') sides. These consisted of X-axis rows 1, 2, and 3, and Y-axis columns J, K, and L. Row 1 was avoided because it was against the house foundation. The southern side of this configuration followed the northern edge of the sidewalk, and the southeast square overlapped a curved extension of the sidewalk. During 2002 we extended this area slightly to dig 1' north into square M2, up to the sidewalk leading from the northern side of the house, and in 2003 we dug one square (I2) to the south of the area; these seven (and a bit) squares constituted the excavation area for the duration of the project. (See Plans 1 and 2.) The initial squares (K3, L3, and L2/M2) were excavated one per day, backfilled at the end of each day, and given separate unit numbers; this had the result that excavation could not go as deeply as possible in these squares. Thereafter we set up a more open excavation, and the entire porch area was renamed "Unit 1."

Before proceeding with description, I should include some explanation of nomenclature and recording procedures. "Garbage" here means household garbage (e.g., pottery, food, toys, coal), as opposed to "building debris" that indicates artifacts that could have been left from construction or demolition (e.g., nails, window glass, mortar, bricks). Since context sheets, plans, profiles, notes, and photographs were not always in agreement in terms of measurements, depths here are sometimes the results of compromise. From the standpoint of labeling, please note that I sometimes used the same feature number for features that occurred in more than one square, if this connection was obvious at the time; however, in cases where the relationship wasn't immediately obvious, I created separate feature numbers. (I have not altered feature or context numbers for this report, so that researchers can consult the original documentation without unnecessary confusion.)

Perhaps most important: Dates of artifacts have been assigned rather generally according to their type of manufacture (e.g., creamware, cut nails, thin glass). However, I am sure that some of them can be dated more closely by their particular design or (in the case of metals) with further processing; I can only offer initial, tentative ages for these artifacts at this time. Therefore periods of features are usually expressed below in generalizations like "1750-1850"; these do not mean that, in this instance, some artifacts date from 1750 and some from 1850, but rather that the date of deposition seems to fall some time between 1750 and 1850.

Feature 1. Brick alignment and trench. Context K3-3. Top depth 2-3.5", bottom 3-6". Artifacts: mostly modern building debris but also one sherd of pearlware (roughly 1750-1850?) and several pieces of undatable garbage. This feature was a two-brick alignment and the discolored soil around it; the discoloration stretched in a foot-wide strip between 6' and 7' from the house. The bricks were set north-south, lying on a long side (not on the end or a face). The purpose of bricks is quite unclear because they weren't truly in alignment and weren't even at the same level as other bricks in rough alignment in Feature 3 (see Plan 2 and Photo 7); they could not support anything, nor are they consistent enough to be the border of anything, although conceivably they were the remains of a border. Date: modern.

The bricks did align (more or less) with similarly placed bricks in Feature 3 (see below). Even though the Feature 3 bricks were 1-2" lower (perhaps from subsidence?), I have chosen to consider them all as one feature: Feature 1/3. If they were one feature, then it may have been 2' wide, with the closest edge 5' from, and running parallel to, the house. This width is determined using soil discoloration, and includes darkening in the eastern third of L2 (L2-5, although this was related to the ashy layer — see below) and of J2 (J2-7, although this was under the ashy layer). (For some reason the stretch was not observed in K2.) The bricks of both Features 1 and 3 fell almost within the area of Feature 25 (see below) but were below that discoloration and did not seem related. Therefore it would seem that Feature 1/3 was earlier — i.e., it was created, and covered, then the most recent porch sat on the soil above and formed Feature 25. On the other hand, Feature 1/3 was made up of late-20th-century building materials — including vinyl that post-dated the latest porch. Either the aforementioned hypothesis is inaccurate or (and this is my suggestion) this area was frequently and recently disturbed, perhaps to lay and remove supports for the latest porch. See also Features 8 and 10 for a trench possibly perpendicular to this.

Feature 2. Deposit on path. Context K3-6. Top depth 6.5-8.5", bottom 10.5". Artifacts: mid-19th-century (and earlier) garbage and building debris. A dense concentration of coals, artifacts, gravel, and other debris on top of the gravel path (Feature 5) in K3. This concentration was not apparent in J3 (which had much disturbance) and only extended a few inches into L3. In K3 it occupied only the eastern 6" of the path, running roughly parallel to the house, c.7'6" from it. This description makes the feature seem distinct, but in fact its edges blended into surrounds, so it may have been just a dumping episode. Date: mid 19th century.

Feature 3. Brick alignment and trench. Context L3-5. Top depth 0.25-1.25", bottom 2-4". Artifacts: almost all modern building debris including pieces of vinyl, probably from the late-1990s vinyl siding. Several bricks in rough alignment with those in Feature 1 but an inch or two lower. See Feature 1 above, and stone slabs immediately below, for further discussion. Date: 1990s.

At the northern end of Feature 3 was L3's upper flagstone. This is almost triangular in shape, with a 90° corner pointing northeast. A lower flagstone (apparently more squared but never completely uncovered) is several inches deeper and out of line with the flagstone above, though the lower stone's three edges (the fourth was not excavated) are parallel and perpendicular to the house. (See Photo 9 for both stones, Plan 2 for their grid positions.) No feature number was assigned to either slab, partly because there were no artifacts directly against them and partly because both have been left in situ. The top of the upper flagstone — presumed to be the base support for a post — is roughly 8" below surface. This is at least 2" below the lowest recorded depth of Feature 1/3, so their relationship, though suggested by horizontal position (see Plan 2), seems contradicted by elevation. However, the upper slab is in the right position to be a support for the latest porch (the far edge of Feature 25 is in line with the far edge of the slab), if a distance of roughly 15" between the porch edge and the sidewalks was left for steps. This could also be said for Feature 1/3; its far edge is identical to Feature 25 and the slab, i.e., 7' from the house. Therefore my tentative conclusion is that the upper flagstone does relate to the latest porch, while the lower one relates to another flagstone in J3 (Feature 14 below — see also Feature 6).

Feature 4. Concentration within ash layer(?). Context L3-6. Top depth 1-2.5", bottom 4". Artifacts: bag missing (I don't recall anything worthy of stealing). My initial inclination was to consider this an east-west feature, perpendicular to the house in the northern side of L3. However, to the extent that its edges could be gleaned, it seemed to run more east-southeast west-northwest, perhaps bypassing the northwestern corner of L3. It was ashy debris overlying at least part of Feature 6. In any case, it is probably a discard episode; since it is ashy, it may have been a concentration (in a depression on the surface?) within the "ash" spread described as Feature 26 below. Date: probably fairly recent.

Feature 5. Gravel path. Contexts J3-6, K3-9, L3-9. Top depth 8-11.5, bottom 9.75-13.25" (it sloped up gradually to the north and was thin in J3). Artifacts: mostly garbage c.1800-50. A path (or road?) made of close-packed thin-flat slate or slate-shale gravel, with its western edge 8' from the house, its eastern edge within unexcavated squares. It ran through all three eastern squares, but fanned to the west in the southern half of J3 and became much less dense and recognizable in this same area (no identifiable trace of it in J2); the fanning could well be due to the path angling toward the door, but that doesn't explain why it would become less dense. In all three squares it was roughly 2" thick. There was no discrete layer above or below that could be associated directly with it, so the artifacts attributed to it are those few that were embedded among the stones. Date: 1800-50?

Feature 6. Brick alignment in trench. Context L3-10. Top depth 8", bottom 13.5"(?). Artifacts: a little garbage/debris 1750-1850? The feature was a discoloration and brick-stone "alignment" perpendicular to house in the northern 6" of square L3, just east of and 1-2" lower than the lower flagstone (see Feature 1/3 above, under Feature 1); its top was slightly higher than Feature 5's path but could have been contemporary with it. As in Feature 1/3, bricks are called "aligned" because they were set in the same direction, in this case east-west, but here they were not end-to-end but side-by-side, with a small flagstone in rough alignment to the west (see Plan 2). Because it contains a curious brick assemblage like Feature 1/3 and is at neat right-angles to it, Feature 6 should be a good candidate for the northern part of the same structure; unfortunately, its elevation is completely out of sync, with both Feature 1/3 and with the other features in this line (Feature 8 and 9). Moreover, Feature 1/3 has mostly modern artifacts, while Feature 6 has no clearly modern artifacts (its redware and coal byproducts could be from any time, its nail is probably from 1750-1850). On the other hand, the strata above Feature 6 was unclear, possibly disturbed — by part of Feature 1/3's structure? In any case, Feature 6 would seem to represent an earlier activity — perhaps an earlier porch. It does seem to contain and relate to the lower stone slab (described under Feature 3 above). Date: 1750-1850?

Feature 7. Pedestal in M2. Context M2-5. Top depth 5", bottom 25". Artifact: reddish stoneware with salt glaze (which could date any time since European colonization); the sherd was actually in soil apart from the feature and doesn't necessarily date from the same time. Only one side of Feature 7 was exposed, at the very end of the last day of the 2002 excavations, and the feature has yet to be revisited; presumably it is a pedestal, although we have no proof that it is not the southern end of a wall. Its southern face is more-or-less in line with the edge of the sidewalk leading away from the northern side of the latest porch, so it was just barely revealed when the portion of M2 south of the sidewalk was excavated (see Plan 2 and Photo 16). It consists of five layers of brick, one and a half bricks to a row (end+side, side+end, alternating); these are neatly stacked with mortar in between. Below these layers is a type of mortar that is porcelain-shiny in some places, and below that a very-roughly squared stone. Although the sidewalk is basically flush with the pedestal, it is 5" and two strata above it and therefore cannot be directly related; since the sidewalk represents the northern edge of the newest porch (or is even farther north, if steps were between it and the porch), the pedestal can also have no function in relation to that structure (and it's under the sidewalk). Its distance from the house, and the discovery of two similar pedestals (Features 13 and 21 below), makes it likely that this was part of the supports for the Victorian porch. If so, it indicates that the ground level then was almost 6" lower than now, assuming that the pedestal's top was flush with the surface — or even lower, if the pedestal held up the porch itself so that, for instance, the lowest level of bricks was level to the ground (and exposed or behind siding). Date: later 19th century.

On the other hand, I should mention that our on-site engineer (Dr. Wolfe) noted that the house's basement had a very similar construction to the pedestal; this could mean either that the pedestal is from the mid-19th-century porch, or that the current walls of the house foundation are later than the house.

Feature 8. Brick alignment. Context M2-3. Top depth 3-4", bottom 5-5.5". Artifacts: mostly modern building debris with some 19th-century nails and one pearlware sherd. This had the ashy soil, like other contexts of the ash layer (see Feature 26 below), but it also contained further strange "alignments" of bricks (see Features 1, 3, 6 above), perpendicular to the house as in Feature 6; a small stone slab lay horizontally contiguous to, but not clearly aligned with, the bricks (shown in Plan 2). Unlike Feature 6, Feature 8 approximated the depths of Feature 1/3 and similarly included modern artifacts; however, the 6" stretch to its south in L2, in line with Feature 6 in L3, did not contain brick alignments at any depth (although it did contain a few bricks). That 6"-wide stretch within L2 did have darker soil, giving the impression of a feature continuing in line with Feature 6. Since M3 has not been excavated, we can't say if the "alignment" of bricks in M2 is continued to the east. Nevertheless, it's a reasonable hypothesis that Feature 8 (and maybe Feature 9 below it) did relate to the structure or activity shown in Feature 1/3, and that that structure must have been the recent porch, and/or that the activity involved its demolition. Date: recent.

Feature 9. Brick alignment. Context M2-4. Top depth 5.5-6.5", bottom c.9". Artifacts: 1840s or later per rather modern-looking glass, but the ceramics seem earlier. Immediately under Feature 8 and similarly perpendicular to the house in the 12" strip of M2 (although we haven't excavated the rest of M2 so this might not be a "strip" at all). This soil included a more closely set alignment of bricks along the northern edge of the excavation, most on their faces not sides (see Photo 8, which shows the feature before much excavation); unlike M2-3, there was little or no ashy element to the soil. Note discussion under Feature 8 above. Feature 9 is not too deep to relate to Feature 1/3, considering variations in ground level and inconsistencies in measurements, but its lack of clearly modern materials suggests that it may be older. It is too high to relate to Feature 6. Date: mid 19th century?

Feature 10. Discoloration parallel to house (plus). Context J3-3. Top depth 7.25-8", bottom 9-11". Artifacts: much old and some modern garbage and building material. This number may encompass two "features" that were excavated together. One was a 12" strip of darkened soil in the western third of J3, parallel to the house at 6'; the other was a continuation of the strip's darker soil an inch or so lower in the northeast quarter. The strip followed the line of Feature 1/3 and may have been a continuation of it, but this square was so jumbled, especially near the surface, that it is difficult to consider it as the same as Feature 1/3 (anymore). Date: recent, or recently disturbed.

The upper "feature" of Feature 10 lay under a large flagstone, vaguely quadrangular, that was in J3-2 (shown in the center of J2 in Plan 2). The whole of context J3-2 had a top depth 1-3", bottom 4-8"; so I suspect the slab's top elevation was around 3", bottom <5". Like J3-3 and much of the upper levels of the square, the slab lay amid a jumble of stones and bricks, and was almost certainly not in situ, assuming that it ever served as a support slab; but it might well have been a displaced partner of the upper stone slab of Feature 1/3.

Feature 11. Overlying Feature 12. Context J3-5. Top depth c.13", bottom 19-20" (except center). Artifacts: 1750-1850 garbage and building debris. This number was originally assigned to a dark mix of soil and rubble in the center of the square, but that was apparently very shallow and disappeared as soon as students were assigned to it, and the students reasonably kept digging. Therefore it is just a central portion of the square, central vertically as well as horizontally. Its relevance relates to the fact that it overlies and surrounds Features 12 and 14, both of which had no truly datable artifacts. Date: 1750-1850?

Feature 12. Stone/brick concentration. Context J3-7. Top depth 13.75", bottom 16". Artifacts: one redware sherd and building debris of unclear date. A dark soil bowing to the east of Feature 14 and edging it to the north and soil — nothing distinctive in terms of contents but a very clear context related to a major feature. Date: unclear, but below Feature 11 and adjacent to Feature 14 so 1750-1850?

Feature 13. Pedestal in J2. Context J2-9. Top depth c.6", bottom 18.5". Artifacts: none — little special discoloration around the pedestal to indicate related soils, and no artifact found against it. This is the only one of the three pedestals that has been excavated in its entirety (but not underneath, because it was left in place). Basically three courses of bricks, two bricks wide north-south, one and a half bricks east-west, roughly 17x13". The bricks lie on two stone slabs, both on the west side, and the southwest slab intrudes on the lowest course so there is only one brick-end facing to the south; the other, purely western slab is below the southwestern one. (Photo 15 shows the southwestern slab.) The slabs seem to sit on the pebbles of the "foundation trench" (Feature 27 below). Mortar (now much decayed) was applied liberally, especially between layers and slabs and partly over the edges of the bricks to the west. The long western edge is 7'2" from the edge of the house, parallel to it. Date: this seems to be part of the Victorian (1860-70s?) porch structure; see Feature 7 above and particularly Feature 21 below.

Feature 14. Support stone and two brick courses. Context J3-9. Top depth c.13", bottom 19.25". Artifacts: one redware sherd, one cut nail, one brick piece — 19th-century. This consisted of a large stone slab supported by two courses of unmortared bricks. The slab was a parallelogram of roughly 14" sides; it retained the impression of a 6x6 post (or similar dimensions) in the mortar in the center of its upper surface (Photo 10). The courses were made of bricks broken in half or two-thirds sections, lying on their faces. Both courses were placed in vaguely oval arrangements, with the top course roughly 5 half-bricks wide north-south, 4 half-bricks east-west, while the lower course was 4x4 half-bricks (see Photos 11 and 12). Some of the bricks in both levels showed signs of intense burning along one side, implying that they had previously been part of a fireplace or hearth; the burnt sides were not contiguous so they could not have been burned while in this position. The slab was roughly in line with the upper slab related to Feature 1/3 but at a much lower depth (16" versus 8" to the tops of the slabs); it was more roughly in line with the lower slab related to Feature 6 and very roughly the same depth, as can be seen in Plan 2. (The depth of the lower slab at Feature 6 was uneven since the stone sloped to the south and east.) I suspect that, together, the slabs in Features 14 and 6 supported posts for a porch or other structure predating the Victorian porch and quite possibly dating to the same time as the Greek Revival features of the house. Date: unclear from artifacts; this was below Feature 11 (seemingly 1750-1850) but above soil (J3-13) containing floral-sprig whiteware (seemingly 1830s or later) — and the latter fits together with sherds in upper layers.

The lower bricks sat on a level surface that was, at first, assumed to be the "natural" (soil undisturbed by humans). This assumption turned out to be wrong, and Feature 14 turned out to be the latest in a series of at least three separate structural episodes centered in exactly the same place, with Feature 15 being the second and Feature 16 the earliest.

Feature 15. Lowest brick course. Context J3-11. Top depth 21", bottom 24". Artifacts: one wood and one clinker piece (clinker is a byproduct of burning coal), undated, both not datable (by any method at my command). This was another course of bricks (Photo 13) below those of Feature 14, separated from the latter by a layer of soil because of sinking in the center. Because of the sinking and the soil in between, it was clear that Feature 15's course of bricks could not support the flagstone above, and it was therefore for an earlier structure; still, it may show an earlier attempt at support that sank and was leveled over and redone. Only one of the bricks here was burnt on the side; one other had some mortar attached. Date: 1800-1850 per soil layer above (J3-10) — but the soil layer below (J3-13) contained floral-sprig whiteware sherds that not only date to the 1830s or later … therefore laid or disturbed in the 1830s or later?

Feature 16. Post. Context J3-12. Top depth 25", bottom 29.5". Artifacts: just a few corroded nail-like blobs (possibly cut nails). This context included a vertical wooden post that lay almost immediately under Feature 15, as well as a very thin vertical layer of slight discoloration immediately against the wood. The remains were 4.5" long, possibly 2.5x5" wide — or perhaps 3x6", if deterioration is taken into account (or 2x4" if bloating is taken into account); the short ends were parallel to the house. This could not have supported the lowest course of bricks, since the latter were unmortared and, in any case, could not have gained strength from an upright post. However, there was a discoloration around its top (see Feature 17) that may be a shadow of something it supported. We have not yet identified the type of wood. Date: unclear per artifacts, but this was surrounded by J3-13, including the whiteware (1830s or later) as well as earlier wares; therefore 1830s also?

Feature 17. Rectangular discoloration. Context J3-14. Top depth 25", bottom 25.5". Artifacts: mostly garbage of unclear date. This was a shallow dark impression of roughly 11x14" (long sides parallel to the house) which had the post in its northeast quarter. (Note that 3" intrude into J2.) Presumably it represented something that was supported by or resting on the post. Date: 1830s also?

Feature 18. Upper stone layer. Context I2-4. Top depth c.5", bottom 6.25-10". Artifacts: many, a mix of modern and old garbage and building debris. This was the upper of two layers of cobbles in the area of the doorway. The stone sizes and placement seemed entirely irregular, so it is difficult to see this as a surface for walking (or anything else — see Photo 17). Moreover, the irregular extent of the stones did not conform with any suspected porch structure. It is tempting to see the stones as support for a stoop, but the base of this layer was just 6" below the surface, the same level as the top of the Victorian pedestal, so the stoop would have had to exist between the times of the Victorian porch and the last one. Perhaps the stones were just stowed under the porch(es)? Date: modern, or 19th-century stones much disturbed in several time periods.

Feature 19. Lower stone layer. Context I2-5. Top depth 6.25-10", bottom c.12". Artifacts: early 19th-century building debris plus a clay marble. Second layer of cobbles in the area of the doorway. It should be noted that Features 18 and 19 weren't distinct as "layers," so perhaps the best expression would be "upper stones" and "lower stones"; still, there was observable difference in soil and some parts of the agglomeration were certainly two-stones deep. Moreover, the artifact content differed, with the lower layer lacking obviously modern (or even clearly late 19th-century) elements. Date: 1800-50?

Feature 20. Support flagstones. Context I2-8. Top depth 10", bottom c.12". Artifacts: none. This was comprised of several thin stones, overall c.12x14", in the northwest corner of square I2 (Photo 18). It would seem to have been placed deliberately to support something (like a post). However, the stones were only partly excavated (they extended into I1 for an unknown distance), and they were juxtaposed with nothing in particular, although the top stone was roughly the same depth as the gravel path and as the base of the lowest brick layer of the southern pedestal (Feature 21). (This information is accurate but not greatly enlightening since the path and the pedestal are thought to be of different periods; my suspicion is that this relates to the Victorian porch, i.e., the pedestal, rather than the path, i.e., an earlier structure.) No excavation below (left in situ). Date: unclear.

Feature 21. Pedestal in I2. Context I2-9. Top depth 6.5", bottom c.24". Artifacts: none, because no soil was clearly associated with this and the pedestal was not fully excavated. This pedestal was only partially protruding into I2, from the south. Within the square there were two rows of bricks, horizontally speaking; each row, as usual, was one and a half bricks wide. The top row was missing what was probably one north-south brick on the east side, but had two east-west bricks side-by-side in the west; the lower course seemed complete, although mortar concealed much of the western side. (See Photo 14.) Vertically there were just two courses of bricks, then two layers of irregular stone slabs, then a roughly squared, large stone at the base. (This is partly a guess since the mortar — including porcelain-white sections as in the northern pedestal — was spread over everything.) The stone slabs protruded slightly to the north but, unlike the middle pedestal, they stayed mostly under the brick courses. The bottom of the pedestal's lowest brick course was roughly level with the bottom of Feature 19 and the top of Feature 20. No excavation below (left in situ). Date: presumably mid-late 19th century.

All three pedestals (Features 7, 13, and 21) have a top elevation around 6"-below-0 elevation and have layers of bricks sitting on mortar and stone. On the other hand, there is great variance in the bottom depths (18.5" for Feature 13 vs. 24" and 25" for Features 21 and 7 respectively) and number of brick courses (five for Feature 7, three for Feature 13, two for Feature 21). Features 13 and 21 are slightly over 7' from the side of the house, while Feature 7 is almost 7'6" from the house; the spacing between the pedestals also differs (Features 13 and 21 are closer to each other — see Plan 2). This difference in distance may be explained by a broad set of steps intruding into the porch near the door (since Features 13 and 21 are much closer to the door). Otherwise this is rather puzzling.

Feature 22. Stone concentration. Context: I2-10. Top depth 7.5", bottom 13.5". Artifacts: one pearlware sherd and sundries of unclear date. This feature number was given to the stones in the southeast corner of I2 because they looked vaguely different from the contiguous stone layers (Features 18 and 19) — also because the pedestal partially sequestered this corner, and it was never fully excavated. Still, there is no logistical reason to separate this from Feature 19, which conforms both in depth and artifact content. Date: 1800-50?

Feature 23. Small support flagstones. Context K2-14. Top depth 14.5", bottom not recorded but perhaps 24". Artifacts: none, because no soil was clearly associated with this. Positioned in the center of K2, this pile of small and thin horizontal "slabs" of stone was at a similar level to J3's slab/flagstone, but it was much closer to the house (roughly 4'6" versus c.6') and their dimensions were quite different. Actually their dimensions were different from each other (see Photo 19), but the top rock was very roughly 4x6" (versus J3's 14x14"). The feature's position shows no obvious relationship with any other feature, but its depth may make it a candidate for part of an early porch. Date: unclear.

Feature 24. Stone concentration. Context K2-15. Top depth 18.5", bottom c.19.5". Artifacts: none, because the feature wasn't excavated. This was a concentration of stones seen (initially) in the western profile of K2, where the "foundation trench" (see Feature 27 below) sloped quickly into the natural; the concentration was within this slope (i.e., possibly within the trench). Presumably part of the trench's deposit(s) of cobbles and smaller stones. Date: unclear.

Feature 25. Latest porch impression. Number assigned after excavations; no context specified because very shallow. Depth just below grass, descending another inch or two below 0 elevation. Artifacts: none specified to it because no context. This was simply a linear discoloration 6" wide, with its far (eastern) edge 7' from the side of the house, to which it was parallel (shown as dashed orange line on Plan 2). It was seen in squares K3 and L3 (in or below the second stratum), and seemed to stop above the northern (far) edge of the upper of two (unaligned) flagstones in the northwest corner of L3. The location and depth strongly imply that it marked where the front side of the recent porch rested on the soil; if so, then the eastern edge of the porch was 16" away from the end of the existing eastern sidewalk, leaving room for steps. Date: probably 20th century.

Feature 26. "Ash" layer. Number assigned after excavations, incorporating Contexts I2-4 (possibly — Feature 18), J2-3, J2-5, J2-6, J2-8, J3-3 (Feature 10), K2-3, K3-5 (possibly), L2-5, L3-5 (Feature 3), L3-6 (Feature 4), M2-3 (Feature 8). Depths greatly varied — this deposit must have been strewn across an uneven surface and over several activity-features. Artifacts: mix of old and new garbage and building debris. The blackened soil was found around groups of bricks and stones, or occasionally in fairly level layers, across all of the squares. In all squares except K3 this soil was permeated by what could be specks of coal ash, paint chips, mortar, or (most likely) all three. While the blackness was surely due to evident coal-content, the layer was composed mostly of silty soil. Usually it contained more old artifacts (e.g., cut nails and hurricane glass) than higher levels, but it also consistently produced very 20th-century items like shreds of aluminum siding and bits of plastic. The layer had varied thickness (1-5"), with its greatest thickness in the south, and started roughly 4-8" below the surface, although in the north and southwest corner (by the door) it was near the surface. Date: modern (mixed with older soils from elsewhere?).

Feature 27. Foundation trench. Number assigned after excavations, encompassing Contexts I2-19, J2-11, and K2-18 (and maybe contexts above these). Excavation halted at 37.5". Artifacts: 1750-1850 garbage and some building debris — J2-11 included several whiteware sherds that should date from the 1830s or later, but the rest of the ceramics seemed earlier. A massive trench of uncertain depth extended across the western two-thirds of squares I2 and J2, and dented K2. It was filled with one or (probably) more deposits of pebbles. Its outer (eastern) edge was 5' from the house. The walls of this edge were virtually perpendicular, although a sloping portion of the trench cut into the southwest corner of square K2. Because of several depositions of pebbles and possible disturbance at the top, it is hard to affix an elevation to its top, but the pebbles came up to around 10" below ground surface in J2-11, and maybe 11" in K2 (if we add on K2-6 and K2-8) and 16" in I2 (if we add on I2-16 and I2-17, but the pebbles were more disturbed here). In I2 and J2 it was surmounted by the (presumed) Victorian pedestals. The trench ended in L2 and was not found again in M2, so it was not a trench of even width around the house (assuming that it was a trench around the house). However, its position and depth do show that it continues in J1 and K1 against the house, and may simply be wider near the door than elsewhere. Date: 1750-1850.

Artifacts. It is far beyond my capabilities to offer an in-depth discussion of artifacts in this report. Certainly, a number of the artifacts would benefit from more research, particularly as regards dating. For that reason, I aim to offer enough artifact information to attract researchers to the collection. The excavations produced a large number of iron objects of very varied shapes and sizes, virtually all requiring treatment for corrosion and some (like wrought nails) probably dating back to the 18th century. Some of the glass also seems to be early; the examples of window glass are quite varied, and curved-glass examples come from medicine vials and hurricane lamps as well as other containers of very varied thickness and coloration.

For ceramicists, there are dozens of sherds retaining patterns for identification. These include two or three types of Delft; more than six types of creamware, some with black, blue, maroon, or mocha decoration; 10 types or more of pearlware, with blue, black, brown, and mulberry patterns; two vessel-types of spongeware; a British porcelain; and various stonewares, whitewares, and redwares. Photos 20-23 illustrate some of the ceramics.

Other artifacts included hinges, hooks, wires, pipes, a small copper piece (part of a clock's gears?), a tiny pearlware pitcher, an archaic sort of domino, a clay marble, a piece of a whetstone (?), and one small lithic flake. Notably, there were no coins, and nothing identifiable as jewelry; this strongly suggests that all of these materials were deliberate discards. (This may mean nothing to most readers, but archaeologists will be interested.) The bulk of the material was architectural, not only the glass and nails and hinges but plaster (sometimes painted), mortar, concrete, worked stone (including a small chunk of marble), as well as many bricks of inconsistent size, color, and workmanship. Animal bones were scattered throughout but were comparatively rare; they included the usual domestic contingent (cattle, sheep/goat, and pig) along with rodents, but no evidence of fish (although shellfish were present).

Discussion. At first the sequence of structures uncovered in J3 (Features 16, 15, 14) seemed to prove a long life and numerous alterations for the house — especially considering their depth, and the fact that the Victorian porch came after them. Then we discovered the floral-sprig whiteware in the soil (J3-13) around the oldest of these features. (Their mug-shots can be seen in Photo 23.) Moreover, this pattern was found in four other contexts at all depths (specifically J2-11, J2-12, J3-3, K3-7) — and sherds from the various contexts could be joined together, although others probably weren't from the same vessel. (Note context numbers in Photos 20-23.) Furthermore, a piece of 18th-century Delft in J3-13 fit a piece found in K3-7 (see Photo 20), cementing this relationship between different and well separated soil-contexts. This is not only hard to explain; it also seems to limit the sequence of early structures to a short period between the 1830s-'40s and the construction of the Victorian porch. And it limits the earliest date of our porch structures to the time of the Greek Revival elements of the house, or at most a decade earlier.

If the floral-sprig pattern turns out to be earlier than most whiteware — or not to be whiteware — then the porch ages will shift back accordingly. Still, this will not solve the mystery of the dispersal of the sherds. The following scenario attempts to explain developments, taking into account this dispersal and the possible dates of the different contexts, along with other examples of sherds from disparate contexts that fit together. This model is emphatically tentative and is hampered by the broad dating of the various pottery styles. If these patterns can be more closely dated in the future, it might change or clarify the sequence suggested here. Also, please note that the sequence only deals with structures excavated. I do not — and cannot — claim that there weren't other structures around previously, and that these wouldn't affect my story.

In point of fact, the earliest features excavated contain numerous examples of household debris, which implies that there would have been a household in this spot before these features were created. Otherwise how would fine pottery from a house at, say, the Hook have gotten into construction trenches way over here? That said, this earlier household used the floral-sprig whiteware, so my proposed sequence must start (at earliest?) by the mid 1830s. Then came the house foundation trench (assuming that's what Feature 27 is) as well as the soil deposit (J3-13) surrounding the post. The mid 1830s is the time when the first Fredrick Rees died (specifically 1833). Perhaps, when David inherited, he built this new house around the corner from his mother's place at the Hook Farm; legally, the agreement was that she could retain her house and possession during her lifetime (Deed K,574). The post (Feature 16) may relate to a temporary porch, or a shelter for builders or for building materials, or the initial house. The latter suggestion may seem unlikely if you consider the post itself, but seems more likely when you consider the large (11x14") Feature 17 that was almost certainly sitting on it. (Then again, the amount of post below Feature 17 was only 4-5", which seems unlikely for a support; perhaps it was an even-earlier feature that was cut off when Feature 17 was put in position.) This may also be the time when the small flagstones of Feature 23 were placed, if you accept that K2-5 (a stratum above this feature) was from the same time as Feature 15 (because Feature 23 must then have been earlier than Feature 15).

After this the lowest course of bricks (Feature 15) was laid, replacing whatever structure(s) related to the post and Feature 17; considering its similarity to the upper courses, I suggest that this course also held a flagstone for supporting a post. For some reason this support was inadequate, and was (soon?) leveled over and replaced by the two courses of bricks and flagstone of Feature 14 (as well as the soil around them, i.e., Feature 12). Dating to the time either of the lowest course or the upper ones would be the gravel path (Feature 5), K2-5's stratum, the northeast corner slab (Feature 6), and perhaps one or more of the trenches perpendicular to the house (particularly Feature 6, quite possibly Feature 9). All this may pertain to the first front porch and a surrounding sidewalk (the path). Judging by the slabs and trenches, this porch must have had dimensions remarkably similar to the 20th-century porch. This would date either to the building of the house in the 1830s, or (if we consider the two structures that predate the slab and its two courses) to remodeling associated with the Greek Revival aspects of the house — i.e., the 1840s or '50s (per Pierpont 1997:5,7); none of the contexts contain elements that couldn't be from the times mentioned or before. It should be noted that Pierpont (1997:3) suggested "the possibility of at least two construction campaigns" relating to the architectural features in the front of the house.

The next phase may be represented by the dense debris (Feature 2) found on the path and the rubble (Feature 11) on top of the support slab (Feature 14). Judging by artifacts, these could still be from the mid 19th century, but it may be sensible to consider a date just before the erection of the Victorian front porch. Since David Reese died in 1867 and his son (Frederick Reese) soon became insolvent or nearly so, it seems unlikely that the Reeses would have completely replaced their porch after the 1860s, although it is possible that later residents did (most likely Becker). Also, the artifacts around the Victorian pedestals (Features 7, 13, 21) tend toward the early 19th century. Therefore I date the Victorian porch to the 1860s. (Architectural historians may verify or refute this.) Also around this time would be the lower layer of stones in I2 (Features 19 and 22) and the support slabs (Feature 20) in the northwest corner of the same square. (But the purpose of the latter eludes me.)

Remarkably, the scenario so far accounts for all of the features except those containing very modern artifacts (often with much older ones). Still, it's certain that there was a demolition and rebuilding episode between 1901 and mid century, when the latest front porch appeared. It is possible (actually probable) that the demolition may have caused contamination to earlier features, but I see no way in which it could have contaminated J3-13 under both the slab and two generations of brick courses. Therefore the earliest porch dates should remain unchallenged. However, the foundation trench may well have been disrupted during these procedures, and may therefore predate the floral-sprig ware. Features that are very likely to be late are the upper cobbles (Feature 18), the ash layer (thrown on top of them while they were exposed), the parallel trench of Feature 1/3 and the perpendicular one of Feature 8 (and maybe Feature 10), and of course the impression of the latest porch (Feature 25). To my mind, the most curious thing about the recent features — and the contamination issue — is that virtually all of the features mentioned in this paragraph have very recent artifacts (along with older ones), including vinyl that surely came from the erection of the vinyl siding that came after the last porch was torn down. Apparently the later features maintained their boundaries even after disturbance; there was no indication of breached or disturbed lines for these 20th-century features.

This scenario takes account of all things labeled "feature" except Feature 24, the stone concentration in K2's western profile. This was probably a concentration at the edge of the fill of the foundation trench; since we did not excavate it, it is up to future excavators to decide.

B. Property Testing (submitted by Jason Farrow, project director, and Steve Jones)

A special project of archaeological testing was conducted from May 25 through June 9, 2003, for the purpose of locating the graveyard of the Reese family. The work consisted of 47 screened shovel-testpits (STPs). Each test was of 30cm diameter, descending to 15cm or more within a layer that produced no artifacts. Shovel-tests were used because they allow us to compare stratigraphy between STPs and to examine artifacts, and the metric system was used because this is standard for STPs. Since very few artifacts should be found in a graveyard area, we looked particularly for irregular stratum depths, which would indicate that the spot had been disturbed; we also looked for spots where the natural layer was not reached, indicating that a feature like a grave shaft was located here. Views differ as to the location of the graveyard, but a strong local tradition places it within an orchard. The aerial photograph (Map 10) shows an orchard just west and south of the house, so this was where the STPs were originally concentrated.

The project involved two systematic grid patterns (Map 12). Grid X (Unit 2) employed 21 STPs to explore the open field southwest of the house; pits were intended to be 25' apart within each column, with 25' between each column. Time constraints forced us to excavate mostly in the northern half of this grid, where the trees are shown in the photograph, and to limit excavation to every other STP, staggered between columns like black spaces on a checkerboard (note filled circles at grid intersections in Map 12). However, when an STP was productive, additional tests were made in the four cardinal directions within a 5' radius. This was true in only one case in Grid X (STP G7), because few artifacts were found and soil stratigraphy was consistent throughout the grid. The plowed topsoil averaged 34cm in depth, with brown to dark brown silty clay; the next level was described by excavators as yellowish or grayish brown clay, and appeared to be the natural. Test G7 fell in the middle of a clover patch (rather than lawn), suggesting a possible feature below the surface. At the second level there was a large amount of cobbles and smaller stones, including three large stones, level with each other, sitting directly on top of the subsoil. Three of the four surround tests also found pebbles or stones at the stratum change.

Grid Y (Unit 3) involved a systematic system of 11 tests, 50' to the east-southeast of Grid X, with rows in line with those of Grid X. This area was targeted because, in the aerial photograph, it looks as if a road veered off of the main road and created a loop around something at this spot. Because this lay at an angle beside the road, columns were of different lengths, so that H (closest to Grid X) had five STPs, I had four, and J only two. Because this area was comparatively productive, all of these pits were excavated at 25' intervals between columns and rows, and radial STPs were dug around H1. Both pits H1 and H2 were in the same clover patch as G7, and revealed broken stratigraphy that had a mix of the usual topsoil and subsoil; the stratum change was very unclear to a depth of c.70cm. A number of artifacts were found in both H1 and H2, including ceramics, glass, clinker, and pieces of metal. Surrounds for H1 showed the same mix of soils, but contained no artifacts aside from coal and clinker.

Discussion. Only three test locations revealed any disturbance below the plowsoil, and all of these locations were relatively close to the Flint House and the road. Nothing significant was discovered in the open field. No precontact items were found, and the small amounts of historic items in Grid X were not concentrated. Two tests in Grid Y encountered levels of fill and cultural artifacts similar to those found in the porch excavations. These could be an indication of a hole deeper than a meter. However, considering the time constraints of this project, further testing is recommended in order to gain a better understanding of the present discoveries, and to continue the search for the graveyard.

C. Barnyard Excavations (submitted by Blakeny Peschel, project director, and Steve Jones)

The goal of this project was to locate, excavate, and examine the barns and other outbuildings that once stood in the field to the west of the Flint House, as well as in neighboring areas now under residential buildings. To accomplish this, two squares were excavated in strategically placed locations, based on measurements taken from a map of the property showing outbuilding locations (Map 8). These excavations are referred to as Unit 4; future excavators may wish to use this number for the entire barnyard, or to use different unit numbers for different parts of the barnyard.

The broader aim was to study the operation of a broomcorn factory. These factories were a crucial part of local history, yet are largely ignored. The records that do exist are difficult to interpret and are filled with contradicting information and gaps. As a result, the history books have been written in a biased and factually incomplete manner. Since the Flint House was home to one of Glenville's most prosperous broomcorn producers during the 19th century, this study should help correct our understanding of the role of the broomcorn industry in the Glenville area.

The original excavation plan called for nine squares to be dug. Two were to verify the positions of the barns, another was to be placed in Barn 3 (the small almost-square building, third from the house on Map 8), and the last 6 were to be strategically placed within Barn 4 (fourth from the house) running on diagonal lines across the building. Unfortunately, time constraints allowed for only two squares and three shovel-testpits. The squares were placed where we expected to find the adjacent corners of Barns 3 and 4; Square 1 measured 2x3' and with the long side running north to south, Square 2 was set across Square 1's northern side, with its long side running 2x4' east to west. The northeast corner of the first square was the southeast corner of the second. Like the porch squares, these have yet to be tied in with global grid coordinates, but they have been tied spatially to the Unit 1 squares, although they do not follow the same grid pattern.

Square 1 did not produce any evidence of the corners of the barns, but we found linear features in roughly the locations where the barns were supposed to be. The top three strata yielded artifacts, and contained three features. The artifacts found consisted of nails, ceramics, a pipe stem, brick and mortar fragments, and a considerable amount of glass. Features 1 and 2 were veins of soil, roughly 4" wide and 2-3" deep, running north-south below the plowsoil. Feature 3 was an area of discolored soil underneath several stones in the north wall. Towards the bottom there was a square area of dark brown sandy soil (Feature 4). Nothing was found in this feature, nor in any stratum below the third.

Square 2 contained several more features as well as similar artifacts. In the southeast corner at Context 2 (Stratum 2) there was a square-shaped feature (Feature 5) containing brick and mortar, although these contents were fragmented and did not form any cohesive structure; the feature ran down c.3" before terminating at the next feature. Feature 6 was in the western third of the square, where there were many medium-sized sub-rectangular rocks that could be the remnants of a foundation or wall. This feature cut through Strata 2 and 3, ending at Stratum 4. Stratum 4 itself presented an odd twist: The middle of the stratum was elevated with the eastern and western edges dipping down, forming ravines similar to the ones found in Square 1 but closer together, with wider dimensions (see Photo 6). There were several artifacts found in the upper part of the feature (almost all architectural), while the lower part was sterile. However, a darkened soil patch was discovered in the north wall (Feature 9). It was square in shape, and could have been a posthole. Its south edge was almost exactly on the north face of the square.

The three shovel-testpits (STPs) provided some interest. STP BA2 revealed a possible feature at the bottom of its second stratum. Also, its third stratum had patches of rusty soil; rather than just being colored differently, the soil actually had iron in it. STP BA3 was different from the other testpits in its third stratum, where the soil was much lighter and of a different texture; this could have been a fill layer. All of the STPs were probably dug inside what might have been Barn 3, but the information they provided did not offer any new insights as to the barn's purpose.

Discussion. Nothing conclusive was found as to the exact location or function of the outbuildings. Certainly, many artifacts were recovered, but nothing gave a definite answer to the research question, although several contexts produced thick metal slag that indicated the presence of metalworking. The unusually high amounts of glass and artifacts that were clearly out of place (such as a pencil eraser), and the fact that modern artifacts were found in the deeper strata and older items found near the surface show a disturbance in the soil. It is already known that the area had been plowed for years. We do not know how the barns were dismantled, nor what was done with them afterwards. It is possible they were demolished and buried, or that they were simply bulldozed over. The land could also have been filled with debris.

Further investigations could start with the ravines or "veins" found in both squares; these could designate an area in which something was laid, or a possible foundation. Alternately, the original excavation plan could be continued.

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