Road Trip!
A Visit to Excavations at Williamsburg, Virginia
A Dirt Brother Goes Historical!
June 2006

Focus of the excavation is a cellar hole discovered by Colonial Williamsburg 
architects in 1954 while trenching for foundations.


A Dirt Brother Goes Historical:
Digging The Ravenscroft Site at Colonial Williamsburg

By Joe Roberts
Dept. of Anthropology, College of Willam & Mary

Since leaving behind good old Texas prehistoric archaeology for 
historical archaeology on the East Coast, I've found plenty of exciting 
research to pursue. Iíll grant that the mystique of the prehistoric era 
is great, but having written records to underpin interpretation sure 
opens up new worlds of thinking about archaeological evidence.

Plus, even in well-documented contexts, written records run out at some 
point and then the only way to more fully understand the past is to pick 
up a shovel and dig!  There are plenty of exciting archaeological 
mysteries in historical archaeology too, thatís for sure! I'm working on 
a very intriguing site right now, in fact.

My summer project up here in Virginia is an exhibit dig in Colonial 
Williamsburg on an interesting 17th/18th century site.  Focus of the 
excavation is a cellar hole discovered by Colonial Williamsburg 
architects in 1954 while trenching for foundations. During this early 
probe, the diggers found some roofing tiles that date back to ca. 1660, 
which suggests an occupation predating the town of Williamsburg, back to 
the Middle Plantation days.

The brick cellar hole may well be a later (ca.1700) addition to an 
earlier wooden structure, since the North side of the feature includes a 
fireplace hearth that points AWAY from the cellar. Weíll be looking for 
post holes and other evidence of this wooden structure, and trying to 
determine the uses of the site throughout the 17th and 18th centuries. 

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