Post by Juliette Bendheim, Program Participant
This week was spent digging in the ground, finding treasure, and learning about the fascinating past of this historical island. Hurricane’s first archeology program was quite the success. After a tour of the island and an intro to Hurricane’s history, we commenced the excavation process. The digging started along the path on the North end of the island next to the Sand Beach with six plots of half meter squares were set up in a line. We were hoping to find artifacts from before the quarry area such as Native American stone scrapers or arrowheads. We did find some of those artifacts, as well as coal, nails, and pottery shards from the quarry era. In addition, most of the plots had similar sized stones lined up along the eastern side, so we surmised that they may have been placed there to form a road or a boundary.
In addition to the outdoor work, we completed some indoor research. We used census records from 1880, 1900, and 1910 to research topics of our interest such as how many families stayed on Hurricane for extended periods of time to how many boarders were in each household. We also compared old photographs to current foundations in order to match them together.
In order to obtain a larger perspective of the history of island, we decided to walk around the foundations. We were able to match several of the foundations with a map from 1910 and ended up walking behind one to an overturned tree. Something shiny caught our eye so we started to pick through the roots. From that one tree we were able to find half a bottle, a crowbar, an ice skate blade, some plate fragments, and even more artifacts. Hurricane is teeming with treasures to be found!
On the final day, we excavated plots along the northern side of the historic Main Street. These plots were 30 inch squares since we hoped to find more artifacts in a larger space. While it was not the treasure trove we had expected, we did find some old nails, assorted pieces of metal, glass, pottery shards, and more.
A lot was found in a week, but there is so much more of the island to be explored. We hope that the archeological process can be continued and more research can be done so that the secrets of Hurricane can be shared with all.