Phase III Archaeological Investigations The Noxon Tenancy Site (7NC-F-133), U.S. Route 301 Corridor, New Castle County, Delaware, DelDOT Parent Agreement 1538, Task 11


On behalf of the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT), The Louis Berger Group, Inc. (Louis Berger), has completed a Phase III archaeological data recovery at the Noxon Tenancy (7NC-F-133) in St. Georges Hundred, New Castle County, Delaware. The work was carried out under Task Orders 8 and 11 of Agreement No. 1538. The Noxon Tenancy Site had been determined eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places under Criterion D because it contains information important to regional history. The Noxon Tenancy is a tenant residence or farm that was occupied around 1750, perhaps from 1740 to 1770. The main goal of the Phase III data recovery investigation was to tell the story of the Noxon Tenancy and to show how the data gathered during the investigations inform our understanding of life in rural Delaware in the mid-eighteenth century.

Fieldwork for this study was carried out between November 5 and December 21, 2012. The Phase III fieldwork consisted of excavation of plowzone test units, mechanical removal of the remaining plowzone, feature mapping, and feature excavation. In total, 67 features were identified at the Noxon Tenancy, though approximately half proved to be natural disturbances such as rodent burrows or roots. The main cultural features were two wells, a trash midden, numerous postholes, two large cellar holes, and three daub-filled borrow pits. These features are interpreted as representing at least one main dwelling, Structure B; a structure/earthfast chimney, Structure A; and an outbuilding, Structure C. Numerous other small pits, postholes, and natural features were identified and excavated. Two lines of fence posts that post-date the eighteenth-century occupation of the site were also identified, and a small sample of postholes from each line was bisected. Historical research indicates that the site was a part of the parcel known as Noxon’s Adventure, owned by two generations of the Noxon family during the occupation of the site. The Noxons did not reside on the property, however, and Site 7NC-133 was likely occupied by tenants of moderate means.

Over 7,000 artifacts recovered from the site included a variety of historic-period ceramics, glassware, architectural material, white clay tobacco pipes, personal items, and a large assemblage of faunal remains. Phase II test unit excavations had indicated the presence of two spatially distinct temporal components. In the northern portion of the site, a small assemblage of glass, ceramics, and architectural materials dated to the first half of the nineteenth century, likely a short post-Noxon tenant occupation. In the southern half of the site, test units revealed a much larger assemblage dating to the second half of the eighteenth century, and identified an intact subsurface feature. This eighteenth-century plowzone component derived from the subsurface remains of the Noxon Tenancy occupation, circa 1740 to 1770.

Phase III test unit and feature excavations yielded a large eighteenth-century artifact assemblage, the analysis of which allowed interpretation of site chronology, domestic economy, trade, and foodways in the Delaware coastal plain region. Comparative analysis of the Noxon Tenancy Site with other sites in the region discusses the unique social space occupied by mid-eighteenth-century tenants living along the cart roads of Delaware within a larger historic context.

Cite this Record

Phase III Archaeological Investigations The Noxon Tenancy Site (7NC-F-133), U.S. Route 301 Corridor, New Castle County, Delaware, DelDOT Parent Agreement 1538, Task 11. Andrew Wilkins, Jason Shellenhammer, John Bedell. Wasington, DC: Louis Berger. 2016 ( tDAR id: 437466) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8NK3HM0

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Temporal Coverage

Calendar Date: 1740 to 1770

Spatial Coverage

min long: -75.733; min lat: 39.465 ; max long: -75.706; max lat: 39.503 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Heidi Krofft

Contributor(s): Andrew Wilkins

Field Director(s): Jason Shellenhammer

Principal Investigator(s): John Bedell

Sponsor(s): Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)

Permitting Agency(s): DelDOT

Repository(s): Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs Curatorial Facility

Prepared By(s): The Louis Berger Group

Submitted To(s): DelDOT

Record Identifiers

Task Order Number(s): 11; 8

Agreement Number(s): 1538

Louis Berger Project Number(s): 2001831.007


Redaction Note: Figures and text relating site location information have been redacted

File Information

  Name Size Creation Date Date Uploaded Access
NoxonTenancy-Phase-III-final-Public-PDF-A_ED-June2016.pdf 35.34mb Jun 28, 2017 Jun 28, 2017 12:50:16 PM Public