Old Dirt – New Thoughts

September 22, 2007

Lots of Sunshine/Lots of Gravel – Hamline Neighborhood Archaeology

Filed under: Fieldwork,Hamline History @ 11:59 pm and

First Saturday Open HouseWe had a very nice turnout for our first open dig. About 30 people showed up – including some enthusiastic kids. The sun made for a gorgeous autumn day – perfect for digging, especially for drying our muddy soils. The gravel fill in the second level (10-20 cm below surface), however, made the digging tough. I didn’t hear any complaints. Possibly the cookies and apple cider helpedVolunteers excavating in the trench compensate for the sore trowel hands.

Our finds today were pretty sparse. Among the most interesting to me is the scatter of ash and coal, probably the refuse from a coal burning stove or furnace. We need to find out when people in the Hamline-Midway neighborhood stopped using coal, but this material suggests our fill comes from a site area dating to the mid-20th century or earlier.

The biggest question in my mind right now is if we should switch to shoveling out the fill. We could dig faster and get to the church foundation quicker. It’s a tempting thought.


  1.   Natalie Self — September 23, 2007 @ 6:06 pm    

    We also have been uncovering some large blocks of something…limestone? They could be exciting, especially since they are in close proximity to eachother. I smell a foundation! (Maybe).

  2.   Caleb Belgard — September 24, 2007 @ 9:31 pm    

    I just want to take this opportunity to say..Brian as much as I love troweling through gravel, I think the class needs a lesson in shoveling and I would be more then willing to teach it.

  3.   Brian — September 24, 2007 @ 10:41 pm    

    Hey Caleb, Click on the first picture in this post. It sure looks like the guy in the red shirt has an itch where polite people don’t scratch (at least not when there are cameras around).

  4.   Caleb Belgard — September 25, 2007 @ 11:13 am    

    I noticed that right away…I’m glad that you can be around to document all my “sensative” moments Brian.

  5.   Natalie Self — September 26, 2007 @ 8:22 pm    

    Wow, Caleb…that is so hot.

  6.   Melanie Self — May 8, 2009 @ 3:11 pm    

    Natalie u r amazing!!

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