FOFA sponsored and Gunston Hall hosted a great symposium yesterday. The lineup of speakers addressed a wide range of important topics and highlighted a number of important sites in the Chesapeake. Here is a brief recap:
Scott Strickland spoke about using archaeology and probate records to creat 3D representations of the interiors and exteriors of extant and no longer extant historic structures. This can be a great, interactive tool for education and interpretation to a wider audience then has been possible in the past.
Bernard Means talked about the work of his Virtual Archaeological Scanning Team/Virtual Curation Laboratory from Virginia Commonwealth University. The team scans and prints artifacts from various collections repositories. The files can then be shared online or between users. The artifacts can then be replicated at will and used for interpretation and education. A great way to interact with the public while preserving artifacts. Dr. Means even showed the spigot that recovered during excavations in the town of Colchester.
Louis Berger‘s Gregory Katz spoke about excavations on two seventeenth century sites in St. Mary’s County, MD. These sites are very important to understanding life in the early Chesapeake and the comparative method employed helps show the range of historic activities that often escape the historic record.
Eric Larson from the Germanna Foundation talked about past archaeology at the “Enchanted Castle” along the Rapidan River as well the the fort that came before it and the German settlers who lived in the fort. The foundation has acquired a large tract of land and Eric’s future work promises to give a better picture not only of the Virginia frontier in the early eighteenth century, but of the people who lived there from the earliest Native Americans through to historic settlers.
Laura Galke spoke next about ongoing excavations at George Washington’s Boyhood Home at Ferry Farm. Specifically, Laura highlighted archaeologically recovered hair care items such as wig curlers, a woman’s comb, and lice combs and how they spoke to the Washington’s hair care. Learning how gentry of the period used lard-based pomade and powder made from clay powder and wheat flour greatly entertained the crowd. Amazing that actual powder residue was recovered from wig curlers. And, what did they find? Apparently someone was stretching out the powder with the addition of crushed oyster shell!
Last up, Christopher Sperling from the Fairfax County Park Authority/Cultural Resource Management and Protection Branch provided an update about CART’s ongoing excavations at 44FX0704. How ongoing, you ask? So much that Chris actually updated the presentation on the morning of the symposium to add a test unit just finished the day before. An interesting site and the findings of the current investigation are sure to provide interpretive opportunities for future park and virtual visitors.
Finally, CART (@CARTArchaeology) experimented with tweeting out the event. It was a success that resulted in a broader conversation, especially after Gunston Hall (@GunstonHall) picked up our tweets. Moving forward, we hope to bring you more up to the minute details of our work using social media. So please, keep following!