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Herding Brick Bits: Ephemeral Historic Sites in the Chesapeake

Author(s): Garrett Fesler

Year: 2014

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Most field directors of Phase I archaeological surveys frequently face this dilemma: a handful of nearby shovel test pits have yielded a few brick bits, some charcoal, maybe a stray piece of refined earthenware, perhaps a fragment of bottle glass. Now what? Do you move on and chalk this one up to “field scatter”; Do you hunker down and try to tease more diagnostics out of the ground? Or do you wing it and try to wordsmith it in the report as potentially eligible? Most are reluctant to admit that other factors-budget, time, crew skill level, personal interest-play a role in either “making” a site or letting it go. Philosophical issues play a role here too: what makes a site a site? What is significance? Who cares? Let us look at some non-preachy examples in the Chesapeake to seek some clarity, if it exists, regarding ephemeral historic sites.

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Herding Brick Bits: Ephemeral Historic Sites in the Chesapeake. Garrett Fesler. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 2014 ( tDAR id: 437074)

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): SYM-53,05

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America