First Impressions of Archaeology

Crew members were invited to share their impressions of the project. The following comes from Mike Webb, a senior at Grafton High School in Yorktown. This was his first hands-on experience of archaeology.

“As a newcomer to Archaeology everything at Hopewell was a new experience. What started off fairly small scale turned into something a lot bigger and more involved than I would have ever imagined from the beginning. After a few shovel tests we started to dig 1 meter by 1 meter units. While myself and a professional Archaeologist unlike myself were finishing up the unit we discovered a feature. Although at the time I had no idea what a feature was and everyone else on the team was excited, I just sat back and watched. After that I quickly became familiar with what a feature was (a discoloration in the soil).

“Over time the team became very familiar with the denizens of the neighborhood. One in particular was very energetic and if you left your supplies or hat unprotected too long they would be snatched up before you knew what happened.

“After the machinery was brought out to make the searching for features go faster it discovered a large feature about 6 ft. Long and 3 ft. wide. When all of the data was recorded and the trench was cleaned up the team began to excavate half of the feature. After we reached the bottom we had discovered: clam shell, turkey bone, cow bone, nails, a few very rusted cans and a few other things that would help explain that the feature seemed to be a trash pit. There was one thing that caught the eye of a few locals which was a bottle in very good condition. Needless to say we took that out carefully and took it back to the lab for safe keeping.

“After half of the feature had been fully excavated and the data recorded we moved to the other half which was full of exciting things as well. Although I did not stay long after the we started excavating the second half it was very promising in that we found a bottle that was in, if not better shape than the other one, just as good.

“Although I am not as interested in the time period which all of the artifacts came from in Hopewell (civil war era) it was still very interesting and has persuaded me to stick with Archaeology although I would much rather study Classic Archaeology. I would just wish that more people could have the opportunity that I had.”