Sunday March 29th 2009 Privy Dig

We have been digging quite a bit the past few weeks but most of the pits have totally sucked. But we keep at it anyway. Today it was Doug, Pat, and myself We started the day by driving around the east side of Baltimore Checking all the usual early spots looking for something we could get into. Then we started to wander across town. I remembered a small demolition site I had seen months before but sadly the 1870s buildings they knocked down had full basements destroying any privies on the site. Except for the slim chance of a small about 6 feet wide by 16 feet long strip of what could be dirt under a heavy concrete slab behind a basement foundation wall. last time I had been by the site this slab and wall were still in place and I had no idea if there was even dirt behind the wall or just more footers. Well we drove by the site and the wall had been removed. So Doug stopped and I jumped out and walked on the site and took one look at where the wall once was and could see what looked like original dirt and the unmistakable side of a brickliner slightly exposed. I ran back over to the truck and told Pat and Doug to park and grab tools we have a brickliner to dig. We pulled out the brick and started tunneling in and collapsing down the debris above the pit until we had the whole thing defined and the underside of the concrete slab that's over the pit exposed. We then started digging down. At about two feet into the pit we hit a very small loam layer this layer has dome early feather edge dating to the 1790s in it. We then knew this was going to be a very early privy. About 3 more feet down the sand fill gave way to about a 2 foot thick loam layer laden with 1780s artifacts that quickly dropped back to the 1770s and then by bottom the mid 1760s. Sadly everything in the pit was broken except a black glazed redware chamberpot but we also recovered 3 buckets of early ceramics to reconstruct. I really enjoy these early pits just for the ceramics. this pit was no exception with some very early creamware and some English and German saltglaze stoneware. And a piece of early Dutch Porcelain with a back mark that was dateable from 1764-1771. This was a cool pit to dig. More research will come over the summer when I have extra time. So check back.

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