Friday, April 19, 2013

Note: this blog post is part of an ongoing series written by Flagler College History students working on site with St. Augustine's City Archaeologist.  This post reflects on a site visit prior to the second blog entry.  You can visit the Flagler Public History blog here.

Meandering through the streets of St. Augustine, one is bound to walk by the Flagler College Communications building.  Unimpressed, many people go about their day without realizing what may have been there in the past.  Now that it is time to replace the building with a new structure that is able to meet the needs of Flagler College and its students, it is time to bring out the archaeologists who hope to discover the stories that this site has to share.

A section of the excavation area--City Archaeologist Carl Halbirt is in the far unit.

During a recent visit to the site, I found many exciting things were going on.  Many more wells have been discovered, as well as some postholes.  A posthole is a hole that has been dug into the ground in order to hold an upright post.  Once the post is inserted into the hole, the space is backfilled with dirt or other material, such as shell or trash.  All that remains of the post/postholes at the site are dark stains in the soil.  This may indicate that these were wooden posts that have decayed over time and the hole silted up.  These postholes are important to archaeologists because they indicate a former location of some kind of a structure--in this case, possibly a fence.

Test unit showing partially excavated holes.

In addition to the digging and sifting through dirt for items, workers were making profile maps of each unit.  A profile is the vertical wall or section of an excavation unit.  Through the profile, archaeological features and stratigraphy can be seen.  A profile map gives a graphic representation that can include soil color, features, and content.  They also include many layers that have developed over time.

Hand-drawn unit profile.

The dig is still in full swing, and many new discoveries are found every day!  Who knows what this site contains; the possibilities are endless.  If you find yourself taking a stroll through downtown St. Augustine, stop by the com lot and watch what is happening. You may be lucky enough to witness something exciting or spot something that has not been seen in many, many years.

Text and photos by Meghan Crawford.

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