Mission Gate and Lunette Archaeology - December 30

December 30, 2022

In week five, archaeologists continued working in excavation units 3 and 4.

Excavations in unit 3 reached an end when the hardpan covered the base of the unit. Hardpan was initially encountered at approximately 60 cm below datum. Due to the undulating nature of the deposit, the deepest point was at approximately 97 cm below datum. Excavation unit 3 was adjacent to EU-2, which allowed for a clear representation of the hardpan across the two units (Figure 1).

There were very few artifacts from the last three levels of EU-3. Soils at the base of the unit were silty clay with few inclusions. After excavation the unit was completed documented with photographs, notes, and maps.

Inside of a rectangular excavation unit
Figure 1. Excavation Units 2 (southern half) and 3 (northern half) with exposed hardpan across base of units, facing north.

Excavations at Unit 4 continued through the week. Stratigraphy indicates original deposition of soils, with the exception of a root there were no disturbances to the layers (Figure 2). Soils closely resemble those encountered in EU-3. One notable change is the appearance of a softer, lighter brown (10 YR 4/3) soil that was restricted to the western half the unit at approximately 59 to 69 cm below datum. This soil also had an increase in cultural material, including metal objects and nails, European earthenware, clear and olive container glass, and construction materials, such as brick (Figure 3).

Inside of a square excavation unit
Figure 2. EU-4 at 60 cm below datum, facing north.
Artifacts from excavation - metal objects and nails, European earthenware, clear and olive container glass, and construction materials, such as brick
Figure 3. Sample of artifact types found in EU-4.

Additionally, there was indication of a burning episode in the northwest corner as evidenced by fragments of slag (a byproduct of metalworking), charcoal, and fire-cracked rocked. At the base of this level were several out of context stone pavers (Figure 4). These pavers appear to be flat, shaped limestone, but were not in their original location based on their orientation. It is likely these pavers were discarded at this location and mixed in with other debris. 

Below the lighter brown soil layer is a very hard clay that extends across the entire unit. This layer has fewer artifacts and a more homogenous matrix.

Excavation of EU-4 will continue into next week. The depth of the unit is approximately 80 cm below datum.

Inside of a square excavation unit with a white board inside
Figure 4. Out of context pavers in EU-4, photo facing north.