The 2009 Field School students departed on June 19 after 5 weeks of excavating in the field west of the Oval. Most of the test units are now backfilled, leaving just a few open for future study. The weather this summer was fairly cooperative since the intermittent rains kept the ground soft for digging. We enjoyed having the students here and will miss seeing the daily flurry of activity as we drive around the site.
The exciting discoveries for the season were two large postholes for an earthfast building close to the present paved road. These postholes, found during the final days of the field school, have other features associated with them which were probably storage pits within the building. The students found plenty of artifacts, such as pieces of ceramics, glass wine bottle fragments, iron nails and large amounts of crumbled brick, throughout the excavation area. These artifacts basically date from the same period as the artifacts found in other parts of the Oval site. The units also yielded evidence for gardening and fences.
The spacing of the postholes will allow field school director Dr. Doug Sanford to estimate where other postholes would likely be located. We will probably find out how large the structure was (and what it was used for) when the field school returns for another season. We thank the University of Mary Washington for making the 2009 field school season possible.