week two

Week 2 - Saturday, April 13th, 2002

The site of Fort Sinquefield, as indicated by a marker erected in the 1930s, is today very nicely landscaped. In fact, it looks like a grassy lawn, with only a few large trees. Unfortunately, landscaping can be very destructive to the archaeological record. Clear-cutting or clearing underbrush with heavy equipment can destroy the fragile deposits that contain the artifacts and evidence of events that happened in the past. This is especially true if the events occurred over a short period of time, such as those that happened at Fort Sinquefield. A site that was occupied for only a couple of years would have relatively sparse and ephemeral archaeological remains.

Archaeologists from the Center and people from the local community spent a Saturday at the marked site of Fort Sinquefield excavating shovel tests. Shovel tests (small round holes measuring about 1 foot in diameter), are a good way to get a general idea of the boundaries of a site and artifact density so one can come back and excavate units. These holes were excavated until subsoil was encountered, which is red clay in this area. All the soil from shovel tests was passed through a ¼" mesh screen to insure the recovery of small artifacts. The soil stratigraphy was recorded for each shovel test on a standard form.

A ten-meter grid was established at the Fort Sinquefield site and over 40 shovel tests were excavated. To our chagrin, red clay subsoil was evident at the surface in many areas of the site or was found less than 4 inches below the surface. No artifacts were recovered that date to the early 19th century when the Fort would have been occupied. Some late 19th century artifacts were recovered and one of the volunteers suggested that a tenant house had once stood in the area.

No evidence of Fort Sinquefield was found in this archaeological investigation. Landscaping has severely impacted this archaeological site. It is possible that some remains are still there, but these would be very difficult and highly costly to locate.

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