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"Artifactual Evidence"
page 4 of 7


Excavators working in the cellar / refuse pit discovered six worn-out tobacco hoes. Most display the three incised maker’s stamps on the V-shaped reinforcement piece under the open eye of the hoe. However, nearly three hundred years of rusting has obliterated these letters. Noel Hume states in Artifacts that these broad hoes are probably early 18th century, whereas our one narrower specimen is most likely late 17th century. No pipe tampers have yet been excavated from 44Hn254. However, we recovered a broken tool in the cellar fill that may be the handle end to an iron tong, used by the smoker to snatch an ember from the fire to light his (or her) pipe. Many such tools apparently had a flat disk that turned to the outside, as ours does, and must have made a fairly good tamper. It is also conceivable that this object is one of the many iron lock parts found, mostly in the cellar.

The ordinary door lock during this period was the plain stock lock, being comprised of several iron components inside a mostly wooden encasement. This latter element rots in a few short years, leaving disarticulated parts called wards, bolts, springs, tumblers, retaining plates, etc. Judging from the many iron parts recovered, plus the seven large iron keys (each with a different web) recovered from the cellar, it is probably safe to assume that this house had doors fitted with the common “Bambury lock” of this period. They may have even had a couple of spare locks just in case. After the house burned and neighbors or family members confiscated reusable iron parts, these locks with their burned-up wooden cases were probably deemed worthless and soon ended their days in the cellar / refuse pit. Only two padlocks were recovered from the cellar excavation; one is in terrible condition, the other is fragile but intact. The latter lock may have had a brass swing-plate over the keyhole, but if so, this is the only missing part. Conservation of this lock has been tricky since it is little more than rust today.

Iron hinges were limited to only a few broken examples (except for a 3” butterfly hinge frozen shut), but the variety was very good. The longest, and most intriguing, was a 13”(?) strap hinge with a sharp-pointed tip and a barb turned out on either side. The author has seen this style hinge in several collections and in museums, but this one matches point-for-point the ones on the inside of the main doors to the Annapolis (MD) Statehouse. It is a little more dramatic to view your finds in their true context.

Excavators have uncovered an array of horse furniture on 44Hn254, mostly in the cellar / refuse pit. Good samples of iron bits surfaced in all levels of the feature, along with their target-type brass rosettes. In addition, several iron stirrups and spurs were recovered. A curious feature of this excavation was the discovery of three of these stirrups that had been broken at the top and bent into elongated hooks (for use as trammel hooks in the fireplace?). The spurs are typical of the early 18th century, i.e. small and very delicate, with stud-type attachment for the leather straps. Small brass and pewter buckles have been fairly common finds on the site, in and out of the cellar. These have been identified as harness and strap buckles, some with fancy designs. In addition, several molded brass saddle bosses were uncovered, as well as other devices to hold straps in place, etc.

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