This post is from Paul Shackel:
Every day the archaeological excavations provide a better picture of how the site was developed and eventually abandoned. There are a few residents in town who remember houses in this enclave existing into the 1950s and 1960s. The neighborhood eventually disappeared from the landscape. The remains of the houses and various outbuildings, gardens, and fences are now covered by trees and soil. People have dumped modern rubbish throughout the site. However, every day we excavate we get a better picture of the people who lived on this parcel of land.
A few scenarios may play out by the time we finish the field season. For instance, the residents were active in creating their own built environment. Perhaps the earliest buildings that were constructed on this lot in the 1880s stood on stone piers. (We have found several places where stone piers exist.) As the family accumulated more wealth the house became more substantial. Various outbuildings may have stood on the property. (We located one of them.) Signs of fencing show that they were serious about marking their house lots and protecting their vegetable gardens, and keeping their animals and pets nearby. The thousands of nails found throughout the site indicate that the family continued to add, repair and improve their home. Once the site was abandoned and the building destroyed other activities continued on the site. We are finding that clay covered parts of the site, perhaps level the topography. Children in the area used this new open space to play. We are finding marbles and various pieces of toys on the uppermost layers of soil. As we dig, we wonder about the clay cap, find the remains of buildings, and discover what the early residents of Lattimer left behind.