Posted by: Brian | November 13, 2009

Nearing the End

Cassie Excavating Inside Entryway 2

Cassie excavating inside the church entryway

We’re finally nearing the end of our fall excavations. The units at both Old Main and the Levin Backyard site are into what appears to be undisturbed, natural soils. Assuming we find nothing in our next levels, we’ll just need to profile these units on Tuesday and then backfill our dirt.

Levin Unit 1 at 90 cm bs 2

Levin Unit 1 at 90 cm below surface

Josh Ready to Move Some Limestone 2

Josh Ready to Move Some Limestone

We’re still in the thick of it at the church site. On Thursday we started removing the limestone rubble inside the church basement. We’re finding some artifacts – broken glass, rusted metal, and burned wood, but it’s not clear whether there will be a substantial fire deposit underneath the rubble. I expect it will take all of next week to get through the limestone, but we should at least know what’s left inside the church very soon – our last unanswered question from this season.

Removing Limestone Rubble - Flying Dirt 2

Removing Limestone Rubble - Action Shot with Flying Dirt (Photo by Rachelle)

Sheet Metal in Rubble 2

Sheet Metal in Rubble (Photo by Rachelle)

The mystery of the second foundation has been solved – at least to my satisfaction. Our excavations on Tuesday uncovered a connecting section linking all our walls. The second foundation is an “L” shaped extension off the main building. I believe this extension was a part of a covered back entryway. Hamline University archivist, Candy Hart, sent me a photo of the church’s south wall that shows a similar back entryway. Our excavations tell us that there were at least two back entryways – one on the south wall (shown in the photo) and one on the east wall. This east side entryway would have been close to the parsonage, and very likely a regularly used route for the pastor as he went to and from church and home. We’re finding a lot of burned debris – wood, glass, nails, and even some fabric inside the entryway. We’ll have to slow down our digging, but maybe we’ll find something inside the entryway to make the extra time worth while.  My biggest concern right now is the oncoming winter. The forecast for next week only has rain on two days. Of course those two days are Tuesday and Thursday when we’re suppose to be digging. Sounds like there’s more mud in our future.

Mapping Rubble - East Wall Excavation 2

Overhead shot showing the east wall entryway. Josh is mapping the rubble inside the church basement.

Detail showing back of HUMC

South side of Hamline Church from a 1911 photograph. Notice the entryway near the street. I believe we are excavating a similar entryway on the church's east wall. (Photo from Hamline University Archives)

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