More Small Town Archaeology…

The archaeological landscape of Grand Forks, North Dakota continues to amaze me.  In August we noted the substantial piles of earth and bricks excavated from the foundation of a new house being built on a lot abandoned since the flood of 1997 (more here).

Last week this earth has been graded into the beginnings of a proper yard around the now half finished home.  Grading the earth has distributed the bricks and other cultural material in a neat halo around the house.

Next door another new foundation has been excavated.  Doing our best imitation of Infiltration we checked out the big hole in the ground and snooped around the piles of dirt taken from the hole.  The foundations of the earlier house are clearly visible in the scarp of the new foundation.

It is also possible to see in the scarp the dark earth presumably deposited by the flood and later dumped into the basement of the house in a neat lens. 

In the excavated soil, we found a nice little assemblage of material including a threaded glass stopper, a square bottle, and plates with blue and white glaze.  The square bottle, stopper and perhaps blue glazed plate date to earlier than the middle of the 20th century and so they should not be associated with the final phase of habitation at the site.

Scrapping away the top soil nearby exposed a more haunting reminder of the final days of the house: a plastic sand bag and sand perhaps positioned to protect the house from the rising waters of the Red River.

We’ve been fixing up our turn of the century home this last month.  These repairs and modifications left us with a neat example of provisional discard. 

The bricks will work well in our garden, but the old aluminum shutters will probably find their way into a modern midden.

Grand Forks is a formation process laboratory!

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  1. Rangar Cline
    September 16, 2008 at 9:02 am

    That is awesome. Your blog should help you explain what you were doing should your neighbors call the police.

  2. September 16, 2008 at 10:52 am

    Great post!

  3. David Pettegrew
    October 6, 2008 at 6:16 pm

    I love these posts on formation processes in Grand Forks. Keep them up!

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