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Field School 2015- Finding the Kitchen

During the summer of 2015, students from Lynchburg College participated in a five week archaeology field school. These students were, Carl Prater, James Robbins, Victoria Funk, Jackie Burke, and myself. The field school was led by Professor Lori Lee, an adjunct professor of museum studies at Lynchburg College. Throughout this field school, students were attempting to locate the Historic Sandusky Kitchen.

In taking the Lynchburg College field school at Historic Sandusky, a lot was learned about the importance of the house. Interpreted at Historic Sandusky is the two day period, June 17 & 18 of 1864, that the home was a participant in the battle of Lynchburg. When interpreting the kitchen, it should be noted that the structure was a 16 x 32 feet brick building and one and a half stories high. The structure was brick and mortar and was likely built using materials found on site or very closes by. Besides simply being a kitchen, another use of such a large kitchen space is that it may have also contained a laundry on one side.

In the field school that took place in 2013, (see post by Victoria Lunsford) a brick walkway and a brick wall were found, showing that a building, hopefully the kitchen, was somewhere in the excavation area. Continued excavation during the summers has shown that there is a large amount of debris indicating the location of a kitchen. A few items found also indicate that there was someone, likely an enslaved woman, living in the second story of the kitchen, these items are; a bead, a piece of a pipe, and a punctured coin.

While conducting archaeological research at Historic Sandusky, one of the most important groups of people are those that worked on the property. In particular, one enslaved woman who worked in the kitchen of Sandusky. We know that the enslaved person in the kitchen would have been a woman and she would have lived in the half story above the kitchen. Knowing that this woman existed has aided in archaeological interpretation of Sandusky since it is believed that some of her belongings may have been found; the bead, pipe and coin mentioned above.

During the five weeks that archaeology field school was conducted, improvements were also being made to a new location at Sandusky, an archaeology lab. The lab, run by Hurt and Proffitt, would help students during field schools by allowing them to not only learn about, but also to truly participate in every aspect of an archaeological dig. The lab was available for use by the students, to label, catalog, and store artifacts found on the dig site.


About the author:

Diana Spangler is a graduate assistant at Historic Sandusky and is currently pursuing her masters of history at Lynchburg College. Diana participated in the 2015 field school at Historic Sandusky, the last archaeological dig to be conducted on the property.

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