Wylie House Field School: Week 2 Blogs

11 June 2018

Elizabeth Berry

Hi guys, my name is Elizabeth Berry and I’m a recent graduate from IU (Class of 2018!). I graduated with a BA in Anthropology and Germanic Studies with a minor in History. Wylie House is my first dig site experience and hopefully not the last. I’m using my time here as internship experience before going back for graduate school in Fall 2019.
Elizabeth sitting in grass at Wylie House
Elizabeth Berry
Today marks the sixth day of the dig and the addition of Tori to our team. The rain was a bit intense this morning, so we started at 10 am instead of 8 am to avoid the worst of it. We started out the morning with washing and dry brushing some of the artifacts that we’ve encountered up til now. Certain pieces are actually rinsed in the “salad spinners” (as we called them this morning) while others such as coal are only dry brushed and placed on the tray. Once all the pieces are dry, they will go back into their assigned artifact bags until further analysis, etc.  can be done with them. After this, we set up our tents and screening areas as normal. Unit 1 is currently tasked with getting rid of the layer 2 soil still in the unit in hopes of uncovering our layer 3 or subsoil. Thus far the usual bits of coal, brick and glass have been found. Unit 2 on the other hand have found a button made of shell (found by Tori) and a bucket handle. And as both units get further and further in, the more we are separating into various buckets and trays to isolate the different layers and any “possible features” we may come across. Hopefully the weather behaves the rest of this week and we can get right back on track. 

12 June 2018

Lauren Schumacher

Hi everyone! My name is Lauren Schumacher and I am a sophomore at IU majoring in history and minoring in archaeology. I’m particularly excited about this project since we have so many first hand accounts and photographs to reference when planning the next step in our excavation.
Image of Lauren at Wylie with shovel
Lauren Schumacher
Despite the occasional rain, today has been an exciting day for archaeology as we were able to add some interesting stories and artifacts to our growing collection. This morning, we learned about the darker side of the Wylie House from Sherry, the master plantsman. We asked if the barn or the house was haunted and to our surprise she said some believe the ghost of a red haired woman in a yellow dress haunts the house. You can see her depicted in the mural. Interestingly, there is a yellow-green dress in the Wylie House collection. Though none of us have seen the ghost (yet), we all thought it was fun to learn a little more about our site. Hopefully we can draw the ghost woman out to our units with some more interesting finds!
Yellow dressed woman in mural at Wylie
Mural image
Today, we embraced 21st century archaeology as we found diagnostic artifacts in one of the two new units we opened up directly to the west of our previously existing units. While screening the topsoil, Unit 4 found remnants of a Pizza X cup. This is a great example of a diagnostic artifact, or an artifact indicitave of a particular time. This cup is clearly modern given that it’s made of plastic and was found in the very top layer of soil. We know the Wylies weren’t eating Pizza X on their front lawn, but it seems as if someone else was!
Small plastic piece of stadium cup
Piece of Pizza X cup
As we start to excavate our two new units, we hope to find more artifacts appropriate to the time period and hear more stories from people in the community to give us a better understanding of our site!

13 June 2018

Tori G.

I am Tori, a junior majoring in Anthropology and Underwater Archaeology with a certificate in Resource Management. I have been on many underwater archaeology field projects, but this is my first swing at terrestrial work! So far project has been great, and all of the students have helped me catch up from the first week that I missed. Today we found more buttons in unit two, the unit with all of the tree roots, which has lead to us naming the neighboring tree “the button tree”. Sherry, the master plantsman at Wylie House, showed us a matching button she had found a few years ago, which was very cool. Also, we thought we had found another feature (possibly a second greenhouse), but it turned out to be an abnormal color pattern in the soil. We are beginning to excavate level 4 today so keep your fingers crossed!

14 June 2018

Scout Landin

Hi guys, my name is Scout Landin. I graduated in May with a double major in anthropology and food studies. While I am really interested in food anthropology in different cultures and societies, I wanted to spend my summer learning the practical side of anthropology through the subfield of archeology at the Wylie House field school! 
Image of Scout at Wylie House
Scout Landin
Today in our field school, I learned how to do a profile, which includes a profile map of one of the unit’s walls. To begin that process we needed to level the wall so we could see the stratigraphy clearly. Once we made a perfectly straight and level wall, we had to set up our measurements and equipment so that we can measure each level correctly. The next step after that is to make a scaled map of each level of soil to represent the whole profile wall in the unit. I had a lot of fun pairing up with Molly and learning this step in the process. When we were done with the map, we officially finished our first profile wall in Unit 1! Even though this process may sound particularly simple, it takes a lot of attention to detail and willing to practice and be precise.
Something that I did not get to do everyday in college is being able to learn with my hands and here at the field school I can do just that! I have really enjoyed my time here at the Wylie House and I think my geologist dad would appreciate how much time I have been spending with dirt. 

15 June 2018

Welcome back, readers, and happy Friday! My name is Joseph, and when I am not doing archaeology I work as avisiting researcher in the IU chemistry department. 
As happens every Friday, this morning we welcomed five new temporary volunteers to our ranks. Today’s adventuresome helpers were Danielle, Mackenzie, Susan, and James (who is the IU Historian!). Together, they assisted us with screening for artifacts and cleaning walls with trowels. Everyone had a great time swapping stories and learning new techniques, and we were sad to see them leave at lunch. With their help, we accomplished quite a bit.
 One of our biggest accomplishments was starting a new excavation unit. Unit 5 (see pictures) is a 1 m x 1 m  square unit that is adjacent to the unit containing our greenhouse feature. We began digging through the topsoil and have just started to reach the layer of rubble that lies underneath. Our goal with this unit is to better understand the shape of the feature which we found in unit 1.
In addition, we also found a sheep bone in our deepest excavation unit (unit 2 – see pictures). Wiley family records of livestock ownership suggest that the sheep would have been  owned by Andrew Wiley, not his cousin Theophilius. This is exciting! We have found evidence of Andrew Wiley’s subsistence farming practices. (Most of our material culture so far is tied to Theophilius and other second generation Wiley inhabitants.
Next week, we will continuing excavating our units. One of our main goals is to better understand the feature we found and excavated this week, using the stratigraphic data we will collect from unit 5. Stop by next week to see how we’re doing!
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