Today we started our first day of the summer field school season putting in a grid on Scamper Street in Pardeesville, PA. We spent much of the day clearing brush from the site. What are we working on this summer? We are excavating two lots, about thirty by one hundred feet in length in a once densely populated shanty town on the west side of the settlement once known as Lattimer 2. In many ways this site resembles last year’s site on Canal Street in Lattimer. There are small houses at close intervals that appear, in our historic maps, to have been built by laborers and their families. Like in Lattimer, these houses contrast with the rigidly regular geometric double houses built by the company. In other ways, it differs. These houses are much closer together, there were many many more, and they were wrapped around a church, Saint Nazarius, at the center of the settlement. The occupant names we can learn from a 1940s map appear to all be Italian.
We laid in wooden stakes at ten foot intervals in a grid pattern. This way, as we excavate, we can map in everything we find in the ground and tie it to a known point. The picture above shows Myles and Camille hammering and labeling our precisely measured stakes into the ground.
In another way, this site is much like our project last year. We had a steady stream of kind neighbors curious about our activities. Maurice from up the hill offered us advice about surveying buildings and finding property boundaries. Tony offered us good luck on our endeavors. 8-year-old Nathan offered us his help in the coming weeks. David, Nicky, Brandon and Josh from across the street offered us cold drinks from a cooler. It’s going to be a great field season!