Last night we were joined by another crew member from the University of Maryland, Katie Chen. Katie worked on the Employee Record Cards over this past year and guest blogged on the Lattimer Massacre blog site previously here.
Today was a beautiful day in the field. Warm and sunny with big bunchy clouds and a cool breeze that kept the worst of the skeeters off us. Also, our test units yielded a couple of surprises. Two of them were pictured in the last post, including a mysterious claw or tooth from Unit 6 (anyone have any suggestions?) and a bottle base from Hazle Bottling company found in Unit 3.
In Unit 2, just as we thought we were finishing up the unit, Katie N., Katie C. and Sam pulled up a suspicious piece of rock revealing a heavily corroded piece of cloth with a couple large buttons visible. Was it a miner’s work clothes, discarded when they wore through? We placed the delicate cloth fragments into a plastic bag for analysis and curation. Below the rock, we found what appeared to be a long narrow trench running through the northeast corner of the unit. About eight inches across, it seemed to run parallel with the high ground along the edge of the culm bank that makes up the south end of our site. It had been covered over with the fill and rubble that covered the work clothes.
By the end of the day, though we believe we have gotten to the bottom of the trench we have not solved the question of its mysterious function. Did it once contain the utility water line eventually built to service the community in the late 1930s? Or did it drain the edge of a road or other space, directing runoff away from community activity areas into the adjacent canal? Hopefully we will learn more when we return on Wednesday, or later in our investigation.
Tomorrow, we are going on a field trip!