This post is from our volunteers this week, Jocelyn Knauf and Amanda Tang, from the University of Maryland. They are taking time off from their dissertation work in the Archaeology in Annapolis Project (see the project blog here) to work with us here in Hazleton and Lattimer:
The first time I (Jocelyn) heard about Hazleton was on the Bravo TV channel. In an episode of the reality show “Bethenny Ever After”, the main character and her husband visited his parents in Hazleton. Bethenny said that Hazelton was “like another world”, or something to that effect, and Amanda and I have found that to be true in the most positive way.
First, the archaeology. We are working in test unit 4, exploring the remains of an L shaped structure that served as worker housing for the Eastern European miners who worked at Lattimer. The structure was standing during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and Mike Roller and Dr. Paul Shackel placed our unit to try to figure out exactly where the structure was. Today during our excavations, we revealed an architectural feature that might possibly be foundation stones. We are not sure at this point whether they are for the main building or an outbuilding, because we only caught them on the edge of our unit, but tomorrow we are opening a new unit to learn more about them.
Here in Hazelton, we also had the opportunity to visit the private collection of Joe Michel. Joe gave us a wonderful tour last night of his collection, which includes many of the old records and maps from the coal companies. We found a new map that included the locations of important outbuildings that Mike has been searching for but had not been able to find before. These will really help in the investigations this summer. We also enjoyed seeing his historical drafting and surveying tools, as well as family heirlooms including a coal burning stove, a sauerkraut slicer, and a set of willow pattern plates.
(Thanks again Joe for showing us around!)
During our stay this week we also had a chance to sample some of the culinary delights of Hazleton. We learned what schamutz is (basically a more pulled version of mozzarella), sampled local sausage and pierogies, and even tried a pierogie burrito! We also hit the local farmers market, Hometown Farmers Market, where we picked up some dinner veggies, and looked through the flea markets.
All that in our first three days here, and we still had time to pause for glamour shots….