Today was a very complex day at the site. We kept two team members back at our house to clean and bag our increasingly enormous collection of artifacts. Each of our units have reached soil levels where it is difficult to distinguish between modern fill soils displaced around the site and historic deposits. In some cases, we will not know what is what until the end of each unit, or perhaps after the artifacts are brought back to the lab and analyzed. The end of each unit excavation brings a round of profile documentation, or the careful drawing of soil colors and textures visible along the vertical edges of the holes we dig.
For our reading assignment last night we read about the Lattimer Massacre in an article by Harold Aurand entitled, “Who owns history?”. Aurand talks about the complex debates surrounding the many descendent communities tied to the massacre and its history. Aurand asks, but does not answer, we concluded, a question we often ponder as we explore this history with so many important implications and meanings in our present. (if you haven’t already, see our blog on research connected to the massacre here).
After fieldwork we got a tour of the Massacre monument in Lattimer from Mr. John Probert of Hazleton (pictured above). Mr. Probert described the event in detail, setting up the context surrounding the tensions of the historical moment and the atrocities of those five minutes in September of 1897. To follow up our long day we visited the graves of 14 martyrs from the massacre buried in St. Stanislaus cemetary (below).