Mission Gate and Lunette Archaeology - January 13

January 13, 2023

Excavations began and continued in EU-5 throughout the week. This unit is immediately north of EU-4. This is the last planned excavation unit at the Mission Gate project area. Swift progress was made in the unit, with approximately 2 cubic meters of soil hand removed and screened each day. (Figures 1 and 2).

Archaeologist standing inside excavation unit with another archaeologist on the outside
Figure 1. Start of excavation for EU-5, facing east.
Archaeologist sitting outside of an excavation unit digging inside
Figure 2. Excavation of unit at approximately 40 cm below datum, facing north.

The stratigraphy of the unit closely resembled the layers seen in the adjacent EU-4 (Figure 3). Most of the soils seen in EU-4 were also present in EU-5 and at the same depths. Strata were mostly comprised of hard clays and sandy clays.

Inside of excavation unit with a whiteboard and marker at the bottom
Figure 3. Stratigraphy of EU-5, facing north.

The higher levels of the unit had few artifacts, such as metal fragments, glass container fragments, and white earthenware. However, the density of artifacts increased in the layers approximately 60-80 cm below datum (Figure 4). Not only were more artifacts present, but the artifacts were more unique than what was previously encountered in the unit. Spanish Colonial ceramics, metal hardware, faunal fragments, and a shell button (Figure 5). These artifact rich layers correspond with the strata from EU-4 that also had an increase in cultural material. While there was an increase in artifacts, unfortunately most of the artifacts were undiagnostic and the presence of both European white earthenware and Spanish Colonial ceramics suggests this was a later deposit. There were no archaeological features found within the unit.

Variety of artifacts on white paper next to a ruler
Figure 4. Representative sample of artifacts from 60 to 80 cm below datum.
Palm of hand with a shell button at the center
Figure 5. Shell button recovered from level 6 (60-70 cm below datum).