The Poison Wood Area Part 2 . . November 5 2009

By Toni Carrell

We went back to the Poison Wood Area with instructions to “. . . see if those conch shells mean anything.” Fortunately, we’d already expanded the cleared area of leaf litter and done some limited testing.

Elizabeth and Toni comparing notes.

Here is a list of what turned up as a result:

  • 2 iron eye-bolts
  • 10 small cream ware ceramic fragments
  • 3 small blue transfer ware ceramic fragments
  • 2 large cast iron slabs, curved, one with a “tab” (found the day before)
  • 2 pieces of copper alloy sheet 3 by 4 inches (one with two very small tack holes)
  • 8 iron round- and/or square-shanked nails (in a concentrated area)
  • 2 pipe stem fragments
  • 2 large green glass bottle bases (and quite a few fragments)
  • 1 musket ramrod pipe fragment
  • 1 copper alloy object with some organic wrapping on one end
  • 1 piece thick ceramic, rim section
  • 1 piece stone, worked
  • 6 buttons, two different sizes
  • fire brick pieces

What do YOU think this all means?    Hint – can you group these into activities?

Here are a few more clues:

-The two large cast iron slabs turned out to be quite different on closer inspection. The one with the “tab” is really the base to a Dutch oven with only one leg remaining.

-The piece of thick ceramic that is a rim section looks like part of a chamber pot.

-The piece of worked stone is actually the flint to a musket’s firing mechanism.

-This area is about 150 feet away from a clearly defined stone foundation.

If you are thinking house site, keep in mind we did not find any foundation stones here. On the other hand those curios iron eye bolts could be tent pegs or the concentration of iron nails could suggest a wooden framed building. All those soldiers had to live some where, right?  But neither of those structures would leave much evidence.

The Dutch oven, conch shells, ceramics, glass bottles, and pipe stems certainly points to at least an area where they were eating, drinking, and smoking.

If you are scratching your head, then you are not alone. But that is the biggest challenge in archaeology — to keep trying to fit the pieces together to come up with a picture of the past.


Donald Keith examining the Poison Wood area.