Frost and Fire

Frosty Roads

A frosty morning at Jericho Ditch

The frost and iced-over puddles this morning were just enough to make me think how amazing the canal roads would be for cross-country skiing.  Ski season (and the analysis and writing time that comes with it) has to wait for one more 2016 field session in the Dismal.  I’m grateful for the help of candidates in the ASV’s Certification program who are joining the fun this week.

Bundled up in many layers, warm hats, and waterproof waders, the four of us clambered over the Hurricane Matthew trees and through the not-too-deep water out to the site.  It’s rained a bit lately so the soil is rather damp- not enough to matter for digging but just enough to clog up the screen.

This week we are particularly interested in a handful of features partially exposed in previous sessions.  The soil in today’s new units was flecked with charcoal supporting the working hypothesis that the feature is a fire pit.  Further evidence came in the form a “massive”  (by Swamp standards) piece of melted dark green bottle glass.  Glass requires a lot of heat to melt and we now have 3 fragments similar in color, patina, and heat effects. Yay!


Massive, I tell you!   Green glass, once melted, with patina and a worked curved edge.   

What’s going on here?  Was the glass heated deliberately?  Were the fragments tossed in a fire?   Was there an uncontrolled fire?  So many questions!

Luckily, my ASV colleagues and I will be in the Swamp for the next few days looking for answers and more clues about the lives of the maroons and enslaved laborers who were on the island before us.


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