“I keep some people’s phone
numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.” - Anonymous
want to thank you for taking the time for the Historic Artifact Analysis Lab
Passport-in-Time project on the De Soto National Forest. Hopefully, you learned how mind numbing
artifact analysis can be.
Not everybody understood what they doing at the
beginning, but I think mostly everybody caught on towards the end of their
time. Now what did you accomplish?
First of all, where did the artifacts come from? In the spring (2015), volunteers got to
excavate at the John Fairley site. The
John Fairley site (22Pe2818) was the possible location of a dwelling or area of
buildings associated with John Fairley. John
Fairley moved his family (wife, ten children, and three daughter-in-laws who
were married to the older sons) from North Carolina to the new territory of
Mississippi around 1818. After metal
detecting in October 2014 with volunteers, we settled on a hot spot in the
woods for a future excavation project.
You examined 699 artifacts (three-quarters of the
sample bags) from the possible John Fairley home. These artifacts included 375 machine cut
nails, 83 pieces of bottle glass, eight burnt peach pits, five glass buttons,
three percussion caps, two tobacco pipe fragments, and 124 ceramic sherds (Hand
painted, Transfer print, banded, sponge, and plain). Most of these artifacts indicate a habitation
from 1840-1910 with just a few dating to an earlier occupation between 1815 and
1840. Speaking of an earlier occupation,
there were 1,129 prehistoric artifacts also analyzed during the lab. These artifacts were found throughout the
John Fairley site, but especially along the edge of the spring-fed
drainage. The prehistoric artifacts
included 989 pieces of lithic debitage, six hafted bifaces, 17 flake tools, one
gorget made from a ceramic sherd, and 70 ceramic sherds. The site was initially occupied between 3500
and 1100 years ago. That’s quite a bit
for one week of work under the insufficient light in the ‘laboratory’. Sabrina and I will finish the remaining
sample bags on rainy days, so I can enter all of the numbers into the
database. Then it’ll be up to me to find
the time to write some big professional tome about the site and the results. Or I could just retire and leave it for the
really appreciate everything that was done.
We couldn’t have had this project without you. Thank you!