On being a working archaeologist.

I’m currently working on an archaeological project close to home, which is simply lovely. This job is going to spoil me.

We are working in Woodford Co. Kentucky at the Woodford Reserve. The distillery is funding the project and we are investigating around the house built by the distiller’s founder. The house was built around 1812 and was lived in up until the 1990s. The building also has 5 separate additions and the bulk of the project area is in an abandoned kitchen/slave quarter which is directly next to one of the additions.

I didn’t take any pictures the first few days we were on the site because I wasn’t sure what the policy was, but since then I’ve photographed some of the neat things we’ve found and taken some pictures of the site and my unit.

Unit 11, after some excavation but still early days

The biggest root we had to battle, archaeologists tend to be tree killers

This walkway was a 20th century addition, but it was just below the surface and completely hidden from view, the trench in the center missed it entirely. In the foreground you can see a millstone which capped a 20th century drilled well.


We had some mechanical help with stripping off the topsoil in some areas, the backhoe also helped us remove the stone walkway and move the millstone so we could examine what was underneath.

Unit 11 after we reached subsoil. We are unsure of the function of the stone structure inside, but it was a later addition to the building.

Here you can see the profiles of Units 9, 10 and 11 and see clearly where large quantities of ash were deposited into the kitchen. The brown layers above the ash are later 19th century trash fill.


The site is dense with artifacts, and most the pictured Items came from a single level in Unit 11.


A sampling for the reserve staff who came to visit, all from zone II of Unit 11

Whiteware serving bowl

A pipe fragment and part of a metal busk – an important component of women’s corsets.


A sampling of the ceramics, these people were not poor.

Clockwise from the left, a hunk of chain, rim sherd from a large serving or food preparation bowl, spoon, buckles, broken doll.

Molded Glass, expensive and lovely.

Mochaware fragment, some of the white is a result of bad lighting on shiny glaze, but the swirls are lovely. This is on a whiteware base, rather than the more typical pearlware.

Molded glass salt shaker with a copper alloy top.

This spoon was probably silver plated, and we have found several in this general style.

This coin is very corroded but we were able to make out that it is an 1859 half dollar.

An intact pipe, this is a style similar to those made by the Shakers at Pleasant Hill, a nearby community.

We have found hundreds of marbles on the site, of all ages and materials.

This hook was found in an area where it is thought that they used for butchering their meat.


Stemware Goblet











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