Thursday, December 28, 2006

A Surprise Discovery

When you dig a hole at an historic site you run the risk of destroying important archaeological features. Sometimes you have no choice, however, you have to dig. This was the case recently when Hoyt Roberts, Aaron James, and Nick Lawton of Richard Marks Restorations were digging up brick pavers in the courtyard in order to relay them. A dull thud alerted them to the fact that there was more under their shovels than sand. A few minutes of investigative digging uncovered a surprising find—what appears to be a capped off well.
The well measures about five feet in diameter. It is covered by a bluestone slab, which must weigh at least five hundred pounds. Wells were commonly found in the yards of nineteenth century Charleston homes, but the placement of this one is curiously close to the back staircase leading into the courtyard (i.e. about fifteen feet).
We hope to conduct an archaeological excavation in early January to determine the approximate age of the well, if it is indeed a well and not a cistern, and remove the bluestone cap. We will see if it is filled in with dirt or still open which will allow us to better plan a future investigation.
Stay tuned as we hope to have some answers soon and I'll let you know if we find the family silver…

1 comment:

Land Surveyor said...

I live over on Nassau Street and there are what looks to be tunnels undernieth my house pointing toward the battery.. Where could i go to research this information? i can't seem to find very many resources about the history on this side of charleston.