As I have described in previous posts, progress at the main dig site has been relatively slow and artifact densities have been low. Today, however, we finally encountered productive cultural deposits. This afternoon we uncovered the first portions of the house floor we have been searching for, including a hearth located within the dwelling. We also encountered an interesting projectile point and several large pieces of decorated pottery.
All of the materials we have recovered from these upper deposits indicate that the soil layers above the house floor probably date to the Late Maritime Woodland Period, sometime between ca. 1350 B.P and ca. 500 B.P.
This was a surprise to us because the artifacts from previous excavations at the site, and radiocarbon dates from charcoal in the deposits, indicated that the large adjacent shell midden was occupied in the Middle Maritime Woodland Period, between ca. 1600 and 1450 B.P. We know from a previous test pit and radiocarbon date that the house floor also dates to ca. 1450 B.P. So, it appears that there was a relatively ephemeral Late Maritime Woodland occupation after the Middle Maritime Woodland house floor and midden were deposited. This is interesting because it suggests the site was being used during both of these periods, but seemingly in very different ways, perhaps at different times of the year (i.e. there does not appear to be a shell midden associated with the Late Maritime Woodland deposits at the site).