Long Barrack Archaeology Update - January 19

January 19, 2024

Due to severe weather, archaeologists were only active for three and half days. Excavations continued in EUs 2, 4, and 6.

In EU-2, archaeologists reached an approximate depth of one meter below surface. No new features were encountered, but a previously identified surface from adjacent EU-1 was found to extend into EU-2. Archaeologists also began to reach the bottom of the builders’ trench associated with the perimeter wall. Artifact density is also beginning to lower.

Archaeologists in EU-4 continued excavating through a soft ashy deposit that was an extension of what was previously encountered in the adjacent EU-5. A lot of charcoal was observed and recovered. A patchy plaster surface was also identified in the southern portion of the unit; it does not extend across the unit. Archaeologists reached a depth of 70 cm below surface. Artifacts from this unit include ceramics, lithics, and metal.

In EU-6 archaeologists reached a depth of 50 cm below surface. The western half of this unit consists of construction fill from the old sidewalk that was at this location. As a result, soils have a high sand percentage. Archaeologists observed an increase in charcoal at around 48 cm below surface. Artifacts included ceramics, lithics, metal, and two complete glass bottles.

Overview of concrete sidewalk inside an excavation unit
Figure 1. Overview of EU-2, photo facing north.
Archaeologist excavating inside a unit
Figure 2. Archaeologist excavating in EU-4, photo facing north.
Concrete sidewalk inside of an excavation unit
Figure 3. Overview of EU-6, photo facing north.

Artifact Spotlight

Archaeologists recovered three clear glass bottles from EU-1 and EU-2 at approximately 40 cm below surface. Like buttons and ceramic, glass artifacts can also be of great diagnostic utility. The color, vessel form, and presence of a maker’s mark can determine several important characteristics. These include temporal range, usage, and the vessel manufacturing process.

By examining these specific qualities, archaeologists were able to determine the bottles were manufactured by the Illinois Glass Company between 1915 and 1929. More specifically, these types of bottles are called the “Lyric Oval (graduated)”, and were typically utilized as generic medicine bottles. Normally, the bottles would enclosed by a blue metal cap, and be filled with cough medicine or other pharmaceutical concoctions. The Lyric oval bottles were typically colorless (clear), and displayed both metric and standard measurements on either side. 

Three glass bottles recovered during excavation next to a ruler to show size
Figure 1. Illinois Glass Co. LYRIC Oval glass bottles
Close up view of base of glass bottle recovered from excavation unit
Figure 2. Close up of bottle base.