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Pluckemin History & Archaeology Series, Report No. 2
John L. Seidel, Ph.D. Washington College 2012
Patterns on the Ground: Surface Archaeology at the 1778-1779 Pluckemin Cantonment
The word “archaeology” usually conjures up images of trenches, trowels, and piles of excavated soil. But not all of past’s wonders are deeply buried. In fact, sometimes they are surprisingly close to the surface, or even hiding in plain view. This is the case with one of the most prolific Revolutionary War sites ever investigated by archaeologists, the 1778-1779 winter cantonment of General Henry Knox and the Continental Artillery, at Pluckemin, New Jersey. A decade of archaeological exploration in the 1980s revealed a site that had complex remains and an unexpected wealth of material objects, such as ceramics, glass, nails, buttons, and gun parts. Even more surprisingly, the bulk of this material was on or close to the surface. This report, the second in a series, relates an exercise in plotting the artifacts that lay upon the surface of the site, and an effort to understand the spatial organization and function of different parts of the cantonment. The first report in the series gives a detailed history of the site (Seidel 2012a). That history began in December of 1778, when 22 companies of Continental Artillery arrived in Pluckemin and started building barracks on the slope of the Watchung Mountains above the village. The artillerists were joined by two companies of artificers, or craftsman, whose skills were put to good use during the construction phase. Unlike the log cabins erected at Valley Forge, Jockey Hollow, and other winter camps, the Pluckemin cantonment included five long buildings drawn up in the shape of an “E,” with one of the barracks measuring over 150 meters (500 ft) in length. The artillerists and artificers were joined by a company of armourers, who repaired small arms and manufactured and repaired other weapons, accoutrements, and ammunition. Yet another group of winter residents was a contingent of clerks, quartermasters, wagoners and others from the Military Stores Department. Pluckemin was more than simply a winter home for the artillery. It was also the hub of an important re-supply effort. This meant that workshops, storehouses, magazines, and a laboratory for munitions were built and put to use over the winter. Fortunately for posterity, one of the officers who lived and worked at Pluckemin in that winter drew a perspective view of the cantonment (Figure 1). John Lillie’s drawing is one of the very few images of a winter encampment that have survived, and it shows the extent of the buildings and their impressive scope. The buildings enclosed two squares. The square parade ground to the left was flanked by enlisted men’s barracks on the sides and officers’ quarters uphill. The square to the south was flanked on the left by barracks and the impressive, cupola-topped Academy building, and documents suggest that the other sides of the south square were dedicated to workshops and supplies. In 1979, large portions of the site were cleared and mapped by a team of archaeologists led by the author. This was the first step in what would become a long investigation. A simplified version of the 1979 archaeological site map (Figure 2) shows some clear correlations with Lillie’s rendering. On the right (south) side of the site plan is a long building defined by stone walls and cleared areas. This correlates to the building labeled the “Southeast Line” on the Lillie drawing. In line with this building to the north (left on the image), Lillie showed a long building with 13 chimneys. This corresponds to the thirteen stone mounds on the site plan, which were no doubt produced by falling chimneys. The reader can no doubt find other correlations, and there was a very good resonance between the Lillie drawing, the archaeological evidence, and documents that described the site.
Figure 1. John Lillie’s “South West Perspective View of the Artillery Barrack” (modern annotations)
Figure 2. Archaeological site plan, 1979 2
Although the artillery left Pluckemin in June of 1779, soon followed by the remainder of the support troops, some of the buildings were used for the next year as a hospital. In 1780, however, the site seems to have been abandoned. It was probably scavenged by local farmers and then reverted back to nature. Parts of the site were put into cultivation, while other portions seem to have become forested wood lots. When archaeologists arrived in 1979, mounds of stone and a surprising number of artifacts on the surface made it clear where the artillery had been. These surface materials are the focus of this report .
Archaeology at many Revolutionary War sites has demonstrated how shallow the remains often can be, although archaeologists have paid little attention to surface contexts (Seidel 1987). The shallowness of the Pluckemin site is due to a variety of factors, primarily the short duration of occupation, coupled with the effects of erosion in keeping organic debris swept off the slope. This can be illustrated by considering the sequence of events to which a typical building on the hillside might be exposed (Figure 3).
Figure 3. Terracing on the slope
When the soldiers arrived and started to build on the hillside, they often needed to create a level space. At Pluckemin, this was accomplished by digging into the hill and pulling the excavated dirt forward to form a platform. Longer buildings required a terrace, and the front of the fill probably was packed with stone or 3
perhaps even lined with a stone retaining wall. This provided a platform upon which walls could be erected (stage “2” in Figure 3). Often the platform became the floor, which might be nothing more than beaten earth. After the site was abandoned and the walls were either pulled or fell down, gravity and erosion would work to return the slope to its original contours. In the rear of a room (the uphill side), eroded material from farther up the hill would be carried into the room and bury the rear. This is one of the few places where features may be deeply covered and well preserved. By contrast, the front of these rooms would likely have been eroded away, with materials displaced downhill. In the center of the platform, however, it is possible that the more moderate pull of gravity would simply work to keep leaves and other debris from accumulating. Even after 200 years, an 18th century surface might be lurking just beneath the leaf litter, and it is this context and sequence of events that probably explains the abundance of artifacts that were visible on the surface of the Pluckemin site during the 1979 survey. As we prepared our research design in 1980 for a longterm archaeological project, the schematic in Figure 3 gave us pause. If this sequence was correct, then the potential for the deep features that archaeologists usually look for would be dramatically reduced. It might not take much digging to expose Revolutionary War era features at Pluckemin. It also became apparent that a good deal of very useful information might be gleaned from a careful study of these surface contexts, and that became a major focus of the research design. For the first year or two of the project, the archaeologists would trade in their trowels for kneepads, and embark on a systematic exploration of the surface, turning over leaves, and plotting stones and artifacts.
Because of the potential importance of surface collection and the manageable size of the site, complete collection of the central areas was decided upon rather than a sampling strategy. Total collection carried with it an added benefit, because the removal of vegetation made it possible to more completely record surface configurations of rock and similar features by drawing and photography. Precise grid coordinates were recorded for most artifacts, although wide spread and common artifacts of nondiagnostic importance were collected within one meter squares. "Nondiagnostic" is a characterization which is admittedly arbitrary, and its use was therefore limited. Artifact distributions were plotted and the general outlines of rock or rubble configurations and similar features were drawn. One would think that picking artifacts up from the surface would be straight forward, but to do it properly (to get good archaeological information) actually requires a bit of thought. In wooded areas, for example, fallen leaves and organic debris must be removed before some artifacts can even be seen. This opens the possibility that artifacts might be unwittingly picked up and thrown away with the leaves; nails can look like twigs and sheet metal like bark. Also, removing leaves and underbrush takes away the covering that protects the soil and archaeological features from erosion. This covering must be replaced immediately after collection to avoid damage to the site. The most effective means was to seed with a grass tolerant of shade and marginal soils and to cover the surface with hay after seeding. In one area where this was not done immediately, the effects of erosion quickly became apparent. The degree of precision used in recording artifact provenience is also important. Because this investigation aimed to reconstruct the patterns of activity on the site based on the horizontal patterning of remains, precise grid coordinates were plotted for every artifact recovered at Pluckemin. Exceptions to this rule were made only in the case of numerous and wide-spread artifacts such as slag and sheet metal, hundreds of fragments of which were sometimes recovered within a one meter area. These exceptions were collected and recorded within one meter grid squares. This meant that every artifact could be located to within one meter of its original location or, in most cases, within a centimeter of its original location. 4
Once the vegetation was removed from some areas it became clear that there were surface features visible that had not been recorded during the initial survey. The large number of rocks scattered across the surface and the relatively large areas covered precluded scaled plan drawings of every stone, so overhead photography was substituted as a more rapid means of recording. The nomenclature for surface collection recording differed somewhat from that of the standard grid reference system (Seidel 1987, 2012a), so a word of explanation is in order. Standard grid notation refers to specific point locations rather than to the areas referred to in surface collection. In order to avoid confusion on this point, and to provide a visual clue to the fact that surface collection was being referenced, all surface collection notations were prefixed with an "S." For further distinctiveness, one hundred meter squares were referred to with roman numerals rather than the usual combination of letters and arabic numerals. In this system one hundred meter square 10G became SI when it was surface collected as an area, 11G was SII, 12G was SIII, and so on. The equivalents are given in Figure 4. Although this might seem unnecessary and perhaps complex, it reduced confusion in the lab and simplified data management.
Figure 4. Surface collection nomenclature: 100 meter squares and equivalents
The large 100 meter squares were further broken down into ten meter squares. The collection process in the field proceeded by clearing one ten meter square at a time. These ten meter areas were numbered consecutively from 0 to 99, starting in the southwest corner and moving east (Figure 5). The ten meter squares 5
could be gridded off into one meter squares by placing a flag with a reference number in the southwest corner of each one meter square. This made proveniencing by precise grid coordinates an easy task. Crews could proceed systematically, searching a single one meter unit at a time and flagging all artifacts found. Once the entire ten meter area was covered, artifact numbers were assigned, grid coordinates were measured and recorded, and artifact distributions were plotted on plans.
Figure 5. Ten meter square surface collection units
The various steps in the surface collection process are illustrated in Figures 6 through 10. A total of thirty-six ten meter squares covering 3600 square meters (38,750 square feet) was collected and recorded. These squares were concentrated along the Southeast Line and in the north. The Northeast Line was not collected, since Max Schrabisch’s poorly recorded, early archaeological work of 1916-1917 would render the results suspect, and far fewer artifacts were visible in areas to the west because of plowing. The results of the surface collection provided some very useful information on the possible use of buildings. In the analysis that follows, only twenty-five of the collection squares will be considered (Figure 11), as the others are either scattered collections that preceded excavation or were are in peripheral areas of the site. The analysis uses data recorded in the field and in the 1980s artifact cataloguing. 6
Figure 6. Clearing vegetation prior to surface collection
Figure 7. Removing leaf litter prior to surface collection 7
Figure 8. Laying out a ten meter square for collection
Figure 9. Collecting within one meter units; flags mark the southwest corner of one meter squares 8
Figure 10. Drawing surface features after collection; note the improved visibility after brush removal
Figure 11. Surface collection areas 9
Collection in the Southeast Line
Figure 12 depicts the surface collection squares in the Southeast Line and their relationship to features mapped in 1979. Areas to the east were not collected either because the steep slope made it difficult to lay out grid squares or because initial clearing and investigation indicated that few artifacts would be found. Areas to the west of the collection squares were in general on more level ground and were known to have been plowed in past years. Few artifacts were visible on the surface to the west.
Figure 12. Southeast Line surface collection areas and mapped features Figure 13 shows the total number of artifacts collected from each square, along with the percentages of the most prevalent artifact types. A quick look at this chart shows that in the six southernmost squares slag is by far the most common material, along with charcoal and metal. The six northernmost squares, on the other hand, show large percentages of bone, shell, and ceramics.
Figure13. Artifact tallies for 10 meter collection squares, Southeast Line 10
This kind of distribution map is cumbersome to interpret, so the distributions of twelve different artifact types have been plotted in Figures 14, 16-21, 23-28, and 31. The artifacts chosen for illustration in these distributions were selected according to their prevalence in the total collection and their presumed interpretive value. Because precise grid coordinates were recorded for each of these artifacts, their positioning on these maps is generally accurate. At this scale, however, where large numbers of an artifact type were found in one spot, the only way to keep them visible was to spread them out. Bone and ceramics, in particular, tend to be found in clusters and are depicted in this fashion.
Nails were plotted first, as it was hoped that some recognizable pattern could be discerned that would indicate the outlines of rooms or structures. There is a linear scatter of nails concentrated in the center of square SII45, and the scatter falls along the presumed front of the Southeast Line. The ground drops off sharply to the west at this spot, indicating the front edge of a building platform (Figure 15). Other than this, there is little in the way of linear patterning to be seen. It is probable that if a regression line were plotted for these artifacts it would rather closely follow the presumed front edge of the structure. In terms of frequency, a larger number of nails appears to be concentrated in Squares SII 44, 45, 54, 55 and 56. Note the scarcity of nails (only four) in squares SII 34, 35, and 36. As this is in line with the projection that was mapped off the rear of the Southeast Line, it may be that some different architectural feature existed here, such as the arched passageway Lillie shows in the center of the Southeast Line.
Figure 14. Nail distributions, Southeast Line surface collection
Figure 15. Nail scatter along the presumed front wall of the Southeast Line; the terrace is to the left, and dots mark nail locations – looking south
The distribution of ceramics (Figure 16) exhibits a much greater degree of spatial variability. Except for a cluster in the southwest corner of SII 26, the vast bulk of the ceramics appear in squares SII 44-45 and SII 54-56. Although this figure does not show ceramics as a percentage of the total artifact count, the percentages rise dramatically in these areas, from zero in the far south to a high of over thirty percent of the total in SII 54. There is once again a gap in SII 34-35, with only three sherds recovered in this area. 12
Figure 16. Ceramic distribution, Southeast Line surface collection
Bottle glass (Figure 17) is only slightly more evenly distributed. Like ceramics, this type of artifact is more prevalent in the north portion of the Line. It also increases as a percentage of the total collection toward the north.
Figure 17. Bottle glass distribution, Southeast Line surface collection 13
Fragments of drinking glasses (Figure 18) were plotted separately, as it seemed that these would have a less ambiguous function than bottle glass. While the use of drinking glasses was probably restricted to beverage consumption, bottles might have contained liquor, water, oil, varnish, or solvents, among other things. Drinking glasses therefore would be a better indicator of living areas, or areas where food was consumed. Unfortunately, only three fragments were recovered. Their distribution does, however, conform to that of ceramics, the other major artifact used for food consumption.
Figure 18. Drinking glass distribution, Southeast Line surface collection
Bone and Shell
Bone and shell are plotted in Figures 19 and 20, respectively. Bone tended to be somewhat more evenly distributed than shell, although the frequency tailed off somewhat to the south. Shell was concentrated in the north. Some of the bone may be from wild fauna which died more recently, so it cannot be said with surety that all of the bone comes from the eighteenth century occupation. Shell, on the other hand, is almost certainly refuse from the camp. Comparing the mapped structure with these two plots, it appears that refuse may have been disposed of in the front and rear of the structure. This suggests that South's (1977) Brunswick pattern of refuse disposal is being followed here. The concentrations in the center of SII56 suggest that this should be examined for subsurface evidence of a trash midden.
Figure 19. Bone distributions, Southeast Line surface collection
Figure 20. Shell distributions, Southeast Line surface collection
The plots of food remains and kitchen items can be contrasted with the plot of weapons and gun parts seen in Figure 21. Only three items related to weapons were found in the northern squares. These were a portion of a bayonet socket, a gunflint of the French type, and a complete British bayonet (Figure 22). The remaining items in this category were found in squares SII 5 and 6 and SII 16. In these squares, five gun parts were recovered (portions of locks and breech plugs), four flints, and another portion of a bayonet socket. The concentration of such artifacts in this area may indicate a very different set of activities in this vicinity, perhaps pointing to the location of the armourers' shop. 15
Figure 21. Weapon parts distribution, Southeast Line surface collection
Figure 22. British bayonet, Southeast Line surface collection 16
Buttons and Buckles
Clothing items such as buttons and buckles could have been dropped anywhere in the camp and may not be a good indicator of functional areas. Presumably it is just as easy to catch a coat button on a nail in a workshop, as it is in the barracks. Most artillery units seem to have used the same kind of uniform buttons, a flat white metal or brass piece, both with a cannon and flag depicted on the face. There were no regimental designations on these buttons, so they cannot be used as an indicator of which units were active in specific areas. It is striking that all of the buttons found in the north portion of the Southeast Line were clearly civilian (Figure 23). Although it is possible that some artillerists were forced to use civilian buttons instead of the standard type because of shortages, it is more likely that this indicates occupants other than artillerists. Artificers, for example, do not appear at this time to have been uniformly clothed. The civilian buttons support the hypothesis that artificers or armourers were quartered here, although the sample is small.
Figure 23. Button distributions, Southeast Line
Figure 24. Buckle distributions, Southeast Line surface collection 17
Although a plot of tobacco pipe fragments (Figure 25), it is small and included solely to illustrate how few fragments have been found. This is in stark contrast to most domestic sites, as will be discussed in a later section.
Figure 25. Tobacco pipe distribution, Southeast Line surface collection
The tool category is similarly sparse, but was plotted in the hope that it might delineate work areas (Figure 26). The distribution does not seem to provide much assistance in this case.
Figure 26. Tool distributions, Southeast Line surface collection 18
Figure 27 shows that distribution of barbed wire, an obviously modern artifact. The reason for its inclusion is to illustrate the possibility that such plots may have for determining past land use. The wire follows a linear course along what must have at one time been a fence line. It can be followed in the central portions of the site, although surface collection has not been done there, and also shows up in the northern areas.
Figure 27. Barbed wire distributions, Southeast Line surface collection
Sheet Metal and Slag
Two of the more numerous artifacts recovered in the south were sheet metal fragments and slag (the residue from iron working, in this case from a forge). These were recovered in such large numbers that it was impossible to accurately plot them at this scale. In fact, point proveniencing of these wide-spread artifacts took up so much time in the field that they were usually provenienced according to the one meter square in which they were located. Their frequencies have been shown by one meter squares in Figures 28 and 31. Sheet metal was concentrated in two ten meter squares, SII 25, and 26. The adjacent squares have also been plotted in Figure 44 to illustrate the rapid decrease in frequency as one moves away from two specific points of concentration. In SII25, 1,044 fragments were found, and 183 fragments came from SII 56. It should be noted that after two hundred years this material resemble nothing so much as tree bark, and fragments could be easily missed. To avoid accidental loss, these and the surrounding areas were carefully combed with magnets after collection to ensure that nothing was missed. Frequencies here represent only the larger fragments, as the small bits defied efforts at quantification. The kinds of fragments recovered make it clear that this is an area in which tin or sheet metal was worked. Numerous fragments are snipped off discards, while others clearly show manufacture techniques and the way in which rims were rolled around wire (Figures 29 & 30). This area probably contains the remains of a 19
tinsmith's shop. The reason for its presence is clear from the wide variety of tin items used by the military, from cartridge boxes to canteens and cannon primers.
Figure 28. Sheet metal distributions in SII15-16, 25-26, 34-36, Southeast Line surface collection
Slag was found in large numbers in the south end of the site. Surface collection in this area resulted in a crew that looked like chimney sweeps, as the ground was littered with charcoal. The presence of fuel for forge fires, combined with the by-product of iron working in the form of slag, makes it clear that the forge operations were located in these southern squares. Both of these materials decreased sharply in frequency as one moved north. Because of the great differences in the sizes of slag pieces recovered, weights were recorded as a more reliable indicator of quantity than fragment tallies. Five concentrations of slag can be seen in Figure 31. Three of these were located uphill, along the eastern edges of squares SI 96, SII 6, and SII 16. The other two concentrations were down the slope in SI 95 and SII 5. The three uphill clusters were located just to the rear of the presumed structure, while the others are well downhill. It may be that the mapped wall lines enclosed the forges, and that waste was dumped to the rear of the building and also broadly spread down the hill. There were large amounts of scrap iron scattered across this area in conjunction with the charcoal and slag. 20
Figure 29. Tin fragments, rims, possibly from boxes, Southeast Line surface collection
Figure 30. Tin fragments – cross-section showing rolled and folded edges 21
Figure 31. Slag distributions, Southeast Line surface collection
Once the vegetation was removed from each collection square, patterns of stone were much more visible. Although scatters of artifacts were drawn, along with obvious surface features, the abundance of rock made it impossible to draw all stone scatters to scale. It seemed a shame to pass up the opportunity to carefully record these scatters and potential patterns, however. As a solution, an overhead camera system was devised to record these features. The camera system used two 5.5 meter (18 foot) high aluminum bipods, between which a 13 meter long (42.7 ft) steel cable was stretched (Figure 32). A 35 mm camera was placed in a self-leveling mount using a gimbel system. This mount hooked onto the cable and could be pulled along the cable, taking a series of overlapping photographs. This system is more fully described elsewhere (Seidel 1987:430-452), but individual photos were corrected for perspective and slope, and then assembled into mosaics that showed the site to scale, as seen from directly above. An example of the scale drawing produced from the photomosaic for two ten meter squares is shown in Figure 32. This records surface collection squares SII25 and SII26, the area of the greatest concentration of sheet metal. In Figure 33, the possible wall lines mapped in 1979 are reproduced on the drawing, along with the outlines of the tin scatters. This suggests a primary concentration inside a room (the top scatter) and a secondary concentration to the west, outside the room. 22
Figure 32. Overhead camera system
Figure 33. Camera in self-leveling mount 24
Figure 34. Drawing from overhead photography – surface collection squares SII & 26, probable tinsmith’s shop 25
Figure 35. Squares SII 25 & 26 with tin scatters and probable walls plotted 26
Summary of the Southeast Line Collections
On the basis of the preceding artifact distribution analyses, the Southeast Line can be divided into three strikingly different areas. The contrasts between these areas are notable even without further statistical analysis. The high proportion of slag and scrap metal in the southern end clearly suggests the location of the forge operations. SII 25, on the other hand, may well have been a tinsmith's shop. The virtual absence of ceramics, glass, bone, and shell emphasizes the industrial nature of these areas and are in marked contrast to areas SII 44 and SII 45. The larger proportion of ceramics, glass, and personal items in the latter area are more consistent with what one expects from living quarters. The mixture of these items with some tools and scraps, combined with the proximity of probable workshops, suggests that the north end of the Southeast Line provided living quarters for armourers or artificers. This interpretation corresponds closely with the conjectural camp pattern that was hypothesized after the initial site mapping and historical research were competed (Seidel 1987, 2012a), in which the Southeast Line was identified as industrial in nature.
Collection in the North Line
Surface collection in the north supports the interpretation of the northern features as barrack remains. The bulk of the materials recovered in the north were items related to food preparation, such as ceramics, container glass, and bone and shell. The total numbers of artifacts were small in this northern area and presented a distinct contrast from the south. The distribution plots were not helpful in terms of discerning patterning, but are included in the interests of completeness as Figures 36-40. The ceramic cluster in SIII 91 does contain many fragments of one vessel, but at least two other vessels are also represented. As simple as these distribution charts from the north and south ends of the site may be, they correlate nicely with previous hypotheses as to the functions of various areas, particularly those concerning the Southeast Line. It is possible that a more detailed analysis of frequency distributions may strengthen these interpretations or illuminate less obvious attributes. With this in mind, frequencies from some sample ten meter squares can be compared with South's Carolina Artifact Pattern (South 1977) to search for significant patterning.
Figure 36. Nail distributions, North Line surface collection 28
Figure 37. Bone distributions, North Line surface collection
Figure 38. Ceramic and bottle glass distributions, North Line surface collection 29
Figure 39. Button, buckle and flint distributions, North Line surface collection
Figure 40. Barbed wire distribution, North Line surface collection 30
PATTERNING IN THE SURFACE COLLECTION DATA
South's Carolina Artifact Pattern
South's 1977 study of artifact patterns in colonial South Carolina involved the separation of artifacts from several sites into carefully defined classes and groups. South's groups and the kinds of artifacts contained within them are summarized in Table 1. The advantage to his system is that it provides a standardized means of dividing assemblages into manageable categories. The system also makes it possible to more easily quantify and compare materials from different sites. For a given site, the number of artifacts falling into each group can be expressed as a percentage of the total number of artifacts excavated. Each site may then be characterized by the percentage relationships between various artifact groups. GROUP Kitchen Artifact Group Bone Group Architectural Group Furniture Group Arms Group Clothing Group Personal Group Tobacco Pipe Group Activities Group DESCRIPTION ceramics, various bottles, other glassware, eating & cooking utensils bone fragments nails, window glass, construction hardware, door lock parts furniture hardware shot, sprue, gunflints & spalls, gun parts, bullet molds buttons & other fasteners, sewing implements, buckles, bale seals, beads personal items, coins, keys tobacco pipes tools, military hardware & accoutrements, toys, storage items, stable & barn items, "other" Table 1. South's artifact groups (after South 1977: 95-96)
When South began to apply this system, he began to see certain broad similarities among many of the sites analyzed in this fashion. These similarities were used to define what he termed the "Carolina Artifact Pattern." Sites which conform to this pattern will have artifact groups which fall into predictable ranges which are shown in Table 2. Although this pattern characterized domestic sites in the long-settled portions of the Eastern seaboard, short-term frontier sites such as forts had a distinctly different pattern, what he termed the “Frontier Pattern” (also shown in Table 2). The Carolina Pattern was derived from the five sites initially analyzed by South. South reasoned that the patterns seen in the quantitative analysis of artifact groups must be the result of patterned behavior by the occupants of a site. It is this concept of patterned behavior that makes the Carolina Pattern important. Although broad cultural uniformity among Anglo-Americans of the 18th century had long been assumed, it had never before been quantitatively demonstrated through archaeology. The importance of extracting this pattern lies in part with the fact that cultural change and process cannot really be understood until some cultural baseline or norm has been defined. The discovery of a quantifiable uniformity means that changes in the pattern can be more accurately recognized and perhaps better understood as part of a process of cultural change or a functional difference. 31
The major difference between the Carolina and Frontier Patterns lies in the Kitchen, Architecture, Arms and Activities Groups. The greater proportion of Architecture objects in the Frontier Pattern stems from the fact that building a house requires a given amount of hardware and nails. Once it is built, the Kitchen Group refuse begins to accumulate, and the longer this goes on, the greater the Kitchen percentage will be compared to short-term sites. This means that the relative proportion of food related items to architectural material in a frontier site that was occupied for only a year or two will be low. On a site occupied for 50 to 100 years, much more kitchen refuse will have accumulated, resulting in the higher percentage of Kitchen Group materials relative to the Architecture Group, as seen in the Carolina Pattern. The unsettled nature of the frontier resulted in a higher percentage of arms-related materials, and the special needs of a frontier site also resulted in a higher percentage of Activities Group materials. Group Kitchen Architecture Furniture Arms Clothing Personal Tobacco Activities Total Carolina Pattern Mean % % Range 63.1 51.8 - 69.2 25.5 19.7 - 31.4 0.2 0.1 - 0.6 0.5 0.1 - 1.2 3.0 0.6 - 5.4 0.2 0.1 - 0.5 5.8 1.8 - 13.9 1.7 0.9 - 2.7 100.0 Frontier Pattern Mean % 27.6 52.0 0.2 5.4 1.7 0.2 9.1 3.7 100.0
% Range 22.7 – 34.5 43.0 – 57.5 0.1 – 0.3 1.4 – 8.4 0.3 – 3.8 0.1 – 0.4 1.9 – 14.0 0.7 – 6.4
Table 2. The Carolina & Frontier Artifact Patterns (South 1977) On a more specific level, such patterning may be especially useful in defining the different activity areas within a site. Areas in which specialized behavioral activity took place should be characterized by shifts in the basic pattern (South 1977: 88). One of the goals of the Pluckemin surface analysis was to identify which aspects of a Revolutionary War site were unchanging cultural constants and which were subject to change for various reasons; another was to discern functional differences within the site. South's constructs may have a great utility in this regard, and surface collection data should be examined for quantitative patterning.
Possible Variations on Military Sites
We should expect some differences between South’s patterns and the patterns seen on short-term military sites such as Pluckemin. A reasonable hypothesis would be that the norm would be closer to the Frontier Pattern, but there could be some other ways in which patterns might differ. In the Kitchen Group, which relates to food preparation and consumption, there should be some variations across a military site on which different functions are segregated. Aside from baking, most food preparation seems to have been done inside the soldiers' living quarters. This was certainly the rule for the rank and file, although it is possible that some officers had waiters who prepared their food elsewhere. We should therefore expect to find kitchen items concentrated in barracks. Frequencies of such items should noticeably decrease in specialized areas like workshops, guard-houses, and storage areas. Would the barracks pattern for kitchen items look like the Carolina or Frontier Patterns?
Ceramics and drinking glass fragments generally account for a large proportion of the kitchen related artifacts found on domestic sites in either pattern. Widespread use of tin or wood plates, bowls and cups on a site would serve to decrease the amount of ceramics recovered. This might be expected on military sites, as soldiers would presumably find that durable, lightweight materials such as tin lightened the load they had to carry on the march. Because tin and wood are less likely to break and also less likely to survive in the ground, at least in recognizable form, the overall frequency of kitchen artifacts might decrease, particularly in enlisted men's barracks. If this decrease in ceramics exists, it might be tempered by an increase in the amount of bottle glass fragments recovered. Knox's strictures against alcohol and the records of court martial suggest that a good deal of drinking was taking place (Seidel 2012a). In the predominantly male population of the cantonment, one would expect an increase in both drunkenness and shattered bottles. On the Revolutionary War sites analyzed by South (1977: 149), he noticed "a dramatic increase in the ration of wine bottles present." Whatever the percentage of the Kitchen Group as part of the overall assemblage, it is worth looking inside that group to determine what underlies that frequency. If the log construction described by Thacher (1862), Martin (1962), and others was the norm on Revolutionary War sites, we would expect the Architecture Group to decline in overall frequency. Thacher (1862) specifically noted the absence of nails or iron in construction, and shortages of pane glass, the use of wood and leather for hinges, the prevalence of logs for siding, and generally crude construction all argue for a decrease in the frequency of the Architecture Group. If normal or above average frequencies were seen in this group, suspicions should immediately be raised as to the type of construction in use. If the Architecture Group is expected to exhibit low frequencies, this is even more true of the Furniture Group. The cramped quarters of most barracks left little room for furniture, even if it could have been transported to camp. The chronic shortages of wagons and draft animals meant that transportation of large items would have been well nigh impossible during the winter, particularly for the rank and file. Consequently there should be a very low frequency of furniture materials. The only place they may reasonably be expected to appear is in officers' quarters, although this too is likely to be a very low percentage. At first blush, we might predict that large numbers of artifacts should fall into the Arms Group on military sites. Cogent arguments can be made both for and against this stance (South 1977:100-101). On the one hand, the prevalence of weapons suggests an increased rate of breakage and discard, as well as more frequent accidental loss of flint and ball. On the other hand, it can be argued that the military would exhibit greater control and accountability than civilians insofar as weapons are concerned. Data analyzed by South (1977:154) indicated that garrisoned forts of the late eighteenth century fell into the latter category and exhibited low Arms group frequencies. Frontier forts from the French and Indian War period manifested a significantly higher frequency, perhaps reflecting a looser discipline on the early frontier and the prevalence of armed civilians. The general practice at Pluckemin seems to have required the return of weapons by most troops at the conclusion of a campaign. They were apparently reissued only for guard duty and similar details. In addition, Von Steuben's manual (1985: 118) required that loads be drawn from sentries' weapons after they were relieved, so that ammunition would not be wasted. Under these circumstances it is likely that arms related artifacts would not occur more frequently, simply because this is a military site. They might in fact decrease in frequency. Frequencies higher than the range expected for the Carolina Pattern could indicate specialized activity such as bullet casting, arms storage, or repair and manufacture of weapons. It is also probable that a higher frequency of arms artifacts will be found on early items such as Valley Forge. As discipline improved during the war, later sites might exhibit lower frequencies of such items.
There is little reason to expect that items related to clothing would appear in any different frequency on military sites than on civilian sites. Unusually high frequencies would indicate specialized activity such as button manufacture or a clothier's office, a shop, or a storage facility. Objects in the Personal Group should occur in lower numbers than on civilian sites. Coins, for example, are comparatively rare on Revolutionary War sites. Troops were usually paid with paper currency, and rampant inflation rendered coins scarce. What hard currency was in circulation would have been closely held. Other personal items would probably have been kept to a minimum. Occupants had to be able to move their possessions on short notice. A matross' possessions might be limited to the few items he could stuff into a pack and his pockets, whereas officers might have a larger inventory of personal effects. Although not quantified, the impression left by various reports on other archaeological work at Revolutionary War sites suggests that pipe fragments are relatively scarce on Revolutionary War sites. Certainly the enormous quantities seen on many civilian sites should not be expected. The Activities Group subsumes such a large number of items that were in use on military sites that this group can be expected to be large. Miscellaneous hardware and materials were scavenged by troops and used for a variety of purposes (barrel hoops for broilers, for example). Tools used in construction of the huts were sometimes so shoddy that they broke with frequency and were discarded (see the letters from Abeel to Greene regarding axes made without steel, for example, such as those of February 11 and 25, 1779 [Showman 1979, Vol. III]). In addition, the category of "other" will serve as a catch-all for the many specialized items which might be found on a military site. Finally, the Activities Group includes military insignia and other devices, so we should expect a significant increase in this group. To summarize the possible variations, it is likely that barracks will be characterized a frequency of kitchen materials that is closest to the Frontier Pattern, due to the shorter term occupation and possible emphasis on treen and tin wares. But hard drinking and a resulting increase in bottle glass could mask this, and a closer look inside the Kitchen Group would be useful. The Architecture Group frequencies in barracks also will be similar to that in the Frontier Pattern or significantly lower, if log construction was used. Significant departs from this pattern might indicate a different kind of construction. In the barracks, the Arms Group is likely to be lower than normal due to military discipline, so increases will reflect either a significant decrease in discipline or some specialized function such as a laboratory or gunsmith’s shop. In a similar vein, any significant shift in the Activities Group might indicate a specialized function, and we should look within that group for clues as to the nature of this activity.
THE PLUCKEMIN ANALYSIS
There are several ways in which this analysis of Pluckemin materials differs from South's. South dealt almost exclusively with excavated materials. He also utilized the entire artifact collection from a given site, rather than selected proveniences. In contrast, this analysis will deal solely with artifacts collected from the surface. In addition, specific areas within a site will be compared here, with the hope that intra-site differences will become visible, rather than inter-site similarities. Although South noted that analysis and comparison of specific proveniences could be useful, he felt that there were several limiting factors to such an approach (1977: 88). South reasoned that although functional differences may have existed between portions of a site at any one time, reuse of areas for different functions over a long period of occupation would serve to mark these differences. Examples of the kind of changing function might include the gradual shift of kitchen and domestic areas from the central areas of houses towards the rear, or later use of dwellings as offices or shops. Artifacts relating to two different and very specialized activities might therefore be mixed, rendering interpretation difficult. This is patently not the case on this site, where occupation was restricted in duration and we may expect compartmentalization of activities. Historical documentation suggests that some areas may have seen reuse after the artillery left, and the barracks were presumably reused as hospitals. However, it seems unlikely that most areas saw any major shifts in utilization over the six month occupation. Intra-site comparisons in patterning may thus be highly useful in identifying the function of various areas. To explore the possible patterning in surface materials at Pluckemin, we will focus on three areas: the North Line, presumed to be enlisted mens’ barracks; the northern end of the Southeast Line, hypothesized to be quarters for artificers, and the south end of the Southeast Line, which historical evidence and initial artifacts plots suggest were specialized work areas.
The North Line Patterns
Although six ten meter grid squares were collected in the northern portion of the site, one of these (SIII81) has been omitted, as it yielded no artifacts other than barbed wire. The squares under consideration then are SIII71, SIII80, SIII82, SIII91, and SVII89 (Table 3). Group Kitchen Architecture Furniture Arms Clothing Personal Tobacco Activities Total Carolina Pattern Mean % % Range 63.1 51.8 - 69.2 25.5 19.7 - 31.4 0.2 0.1 - 0.6 0.5 0.1 - 1.2 3.0 0.6 - 5.4 0.2 0.1 - 0.5 5.8 1.8 - 13.9 1.7 0.9 - 2.7 100.0 Frontier Pattern North Line Pattern Mean % % Range % 27.6 22.7 – 34.5 75.4 52.0 43.0 – 57.5 10.1 0.2 0.1 – 0.3 5.4 1.4 – 8.4 1.4 1.7 0.3 – 3.8 2.9 0.2 0.1 – 0.4 9.1 1.9 – 14.0 3.7 0.7 – 6.4 10.1 100.0 99.9
Table 3. North Line artifact patterns compared to the Carolina & Frontier Patterns 35
The most striking thing about the frequencies seen in Table 3 is the relatively large percentage of objects in the Kitchen Group. This is far higher than the mean of the Frontier Pattern, and higher than the high end of the range for the Carolina Pattern. Looking within this group, it includes 43 ceramic sherds and only 9 fragments of bottle glass, so the variation is not due to an abnormally large amount of bottle glass. The ceramic ratio is more than double that seen in any of the sites that South reported (South 1977:150, Table 18; Seidel 1987:395-396). The high frequency of ceramics allows us to suggest something important about the behavior of soldiers on this site. Contrary to conventional wisdom (Peterson 1968; Neumann and Kravic 1975), soldiers here exhibited a clear preference for ceramics over tin and wood, at least in winter quarters. What is more, their presence may say something about the level of supply, or at least the access of soldiers to these goods, presumably from sutlers or civilian sources. Also notable are the low Architecture (10.1%), Furniture (0%), Personal (0%) and Tobacco (0%) Groups. The low percentage of architectural materials, especially nails, may indicate log construction. The Arms Group is just above the range for the Carolina Pattern, but at the lowest end of the range for frontier areas. However, the small sample size could be a factor here. One large, French gunflint boosts this category, and it could have functioned as a strike-a-light, which would more properly be in the Activities Group – we should not read too much into this part of the pattern. The high Activities Group probably stems from the presence of military insignia and other materials. Again, we should keep in mind the small number of artifacts recovered here (n=69). Subsequent excavation in this area suggests that the surface materials are smaller in number because there has been a greater build up of soils in the last 200 years, effectively burying objects more deeply than in the steeper Southeast Line.
The Southeast Line Patterns
Historical clues and artifacts seen on the surface indicated that the Southeast Line served several functions. Based on an intuitive sense of the artifacts recovered, the southern rooms look like work areas, while the northern portions might have served as living quarters, most likely for the craftsmen (artificers and armourers). Can a quantitative look at artifact frequencies confirm this, or provide any additional information as to functions? To answer this question, we will start in the north, looking at a 20 meter (65.6 ft) wide swath that runs east-to west for 30 meters (98.4 ft) across the building terrace in this area. This encompasses grid squares SII44-46 and SII54-56. Group Kitchen Architecture Furniture Arms Clothing Personal Tobacco Activities Total Carolina Pattern Mean % % Range 63.1 51.8 - 69.2 25.5 19.7 - 31.4 0.2 0.1 - 0.6 0.5 0.1 - 1.2 3.0 0.6 - 5.4 0.2 0.1 - 0.5 5.8 1.8 - 13.9 1.7 0.9 - 2.7 100.0 Frontier Pattern SII44-46, 54-56 Mean % % Range % 27.6 22.7 – 34.5 50.5 52.0 43.0 – 57.5 23.2 0.2 0.1 – 0.3 5.4 1.4 – 8.4 0.3 1.7 0.3 – 3.8 1.3 0.2 0.1 – 0.4 9.1 1.9 – 14.0 0.8 3.7 0.7 – 6.4 24.0 100.0 100.1
Table 4. SII44-46 & SII54-56, Southeast Line artifact patterns compared to the Carolina & Frontier Patterns 36
Before looking at the other groups, the extremely high Activities Group in Table 4 needs explanation. Slag and unidentifiable scraps of metal were ubiquitous along the Southeast Line. When these items are removed from the counts, the adjusted frequencies are more in line with what we would expect (Table 5). Group Kitchen Architecture Furniture Arms Clothing Personal Tobacco Activities Total Carolina Pattern Mean % % Range 63.1 51.8 - 69.2 25.5 19.7 - 31.4 0.2 0.1 - 0.6 0.5 0.1 - 1.2 3.0 0.6 - 5.4 0.2 0.1 - 0.5 5.8 1.8 - 13.9 1.7 0.9 - 2.7 100.0 Frontier Pattern SII44-46, 54-56 Mean % % Range % 27.6 22.7 – 34.5 64.5 52.0 43.0 – 57.5 29.7 0.2 0.1 – 0.3 5.4 1.4 – 8.4 0.3 1.7 0.3 – 3.8 1.6 0.2 0.1 – 0.4 9.1 1.9 – 14.0 1.0 3.7 0.7 – 6.4 2.9 100.0 100.0
Table 5. SII44-46 & SII54-56, Southeast Line artifact patterns, adjusted by removing slag and scrap metal
The adjusted frequencies shown in Table 4 are remarkably similar, in some respects, to the Carolina Pattern. The Kitchen Group is within the expected range, and very high compared to the short-term occupations of the Frontier Patter. Within the kitchen artifacts, 141 ceramic sherds were recovered, along with 57 pieces of glass bottles. This ratio is within the norms found by South for the Carolina Pattern (South 1977:150; Seidel 1987:408) and leads to two important conclusions. The first is that the room or rooms covered by this surface collection sample were indeed living quarters, given the high frequency of kitchen related materials. The second is that a strong preference is shown here, as in the North Line, for ceramics over tin and wood, as well as access to these goods. The Architecture Group is in alignment with the Carolina Pattern, and within this group is a large number of nails (43), especially compared to the North Line. This suggests a possible difference in construction techniques between this portion of the Southeast Line and the North Line. As a contrast to these presumed living quarters, two ten meter squares in the south were examined, SI96 and SII6. The very large amounts of slag covering this area (far greater than in SII44-46 & 54-56) suggested the presence of a forge. Subtle, but perhaps significant, differences were seen between SI96 and SI6, so they are examined separately. The surface assemblage from SI96 had a total of 1,018 artifacts. Barbed wire (43 fragments), bone (5 pieces), modern artifacts (6) and charcoal (407 pieces) were eliminated from the analysis, leaving 557 items to be tabulated, as seen in Table 6. This pattern is so different from those we have seen before, that it needs little commentary. The complete absence of kitchen related items and the overwhelming preponderance of the Activities Group speak for themselves. The low frequencies for clothing and architectural materials strengthen the obvious conclusion that highly specialized activity took place in this area. Of particular significance is the absence of weapons parts, and it appears unlikely that weapons were worked on in this specific area. A breakdown of the objects in the Activities Group (Table 7) unfortunately does little to suggest any specialized functions. Even adjusting the totals by removing the large amounts of slag does nothing to help the analysis (Seidel 1987:412). This adjustment shows that 87% of the collection was unidentifiable metal and 7.8% were 37
horse shoe nails. The absence of any clearly identifiable materials beyond this suggests that in this area general blacksmithing and farrier work took place. This prediction was borne out by later excavations in this area (Seidel 1987) that revealed two forge bases in this vicinity and a wide variety of generalized hardware, horseshoes, and horseshoe nails. Group Kitchen Architecture Furniture Arms Clothing Personal Tobacco Activities Total Carolina Pattern Mean % % Range 63.1 51.8 - 69.2 25.5 19.7 - 31.4 0.2 0.1 - 0.6 0.5 0.1 - 1.2 3.0 0.6 - 5.4 0.2 0.1 - 0.5 5.8 1.8 - 13.9 1.7 0.9 - 2.7 100.0 Frontier Pattern Mean % % Range 27.6 22.7 – 34.5 52.0 43.0 – 57.5 0.2 0.1 – 0.3 5.4 1.4 – 8.4 1.7 0.3 – 3.8 0.2 0.1 – 0.4 9.1 1.9 – 14.0 3.7 0.7 – 6.4 100.0 SI96 % 0.7 0.2 99.1 100.0
Table 6. SI96, Southeast Line artifact pattern Activities Group Slag Unidentifiable iron Tools Horseshoe nails Total Count 442 100 1 9 552 % of total 80.0 18.1 0.2 1.6 99.9
Table 7. Itemization of SI96 Activities Group Group Kitchen Architecture Furniture Arms Clothing Personal Tobacco Activities Total Carolina Pattern Mean % % Range 63.1 51.8 - 69.2 25.5 0.2 0.5 3.0 0.2 5.8 1.7 100.0 19.7 - 31.4 0.1 - 0.6 0.1 - 1.2 0.6 - 5.4 0.1 - 0.5 1.8 - 13.9 0.9 - 2.7 Frontier Pattern Mean % % Range 27. 22.7 – 34.5 6 52. 43.0 – 57.5 0 0.2 0.1 – 0.3 5.4 1.4 – 8.4 1.7 0.3 – 3.8 0.2 0.1 – 0.4 9.1 1.9 – 14.0 3.7 0.7 – 6.4 100.0 SI96 % 3.5 0.2 99.1 100.0 SII6 % 7.6 4.8 1.0 86.7 100.1
Table 8. SII6 and SI96, Southeast Line artifact patterns compared (adjusted to remove slag) 38
Surface collection square SII6 offered a slightly different picture. A collection totaling 745 artifacts was adjusted by excluding barbed wire (7) and charcoal (83), leaving 655 artifacts for analysis (Table 8). When the frequencies were adjusted by removing slag, the most striking aspect of this frequency pattern is the increase in the Arms Group and a corresponding decrease in the Activities Group (although that group is still very large). The Arms Group frequency was precisely four times the highest frequency found in South’s analyses and over nine times the mean frequency for the Carolina Pattern. As with the horseshoe nails in the SI96, this probably points to a specific function for this area. Combined with the virtual absence of gun parts in the north, this suggested that gunsmithing must have taken place here. To test this prediction excavations were later placed in this area and they confirmed the presence of a gunsmith’s shop (Seidel 2012b).
SUMMARY & CONCLUSIONS
Summary of the Surface Collection at Pluckemin
The high visibility of both stone features and artifacts across eh surface of the site at Pluckemin indicated that remains would be shallow. Especially in steeper areas, and along the terraces built into the hillside for constructing buildings, natural forces have worked to keep many artifacts close to the surface. As a result, a plan was devised to carefully collect all of the artifacts in some portions of the site, recording their precise positions. We hoped that this would reveal patterns in the artifact distributions, patterns that might give us a blueprint for activity at the cantonment. Of the 3600 square meters collected, 2500 square meters that were in contiguous areas were analyzed. In the North Line, six 10 meter squares were collected (600 square meters, or 6,458 sf) and in the Southeast Line nineteen 10 meter squares were collected (1900 square meters, or 20,451 sf). Although artifacts such as nails, button and gun parts were recorded with precision, plotting them via the grid to the nearest centimeter, in some areas the volume of nondescript items such as slag, sheet metal or charcoal was such that these materials were collected within one meter squares. As each ten meter square was cleaned of its vegetation and leaf litter, patterns of stone and other surface features became more visible. These were recorded with scaled drawings, and additional detail was provided by comprehensive overhead photography. The results largely confirmed the assumptions made during the 1979 mapping of the site as to building locations. Both the visible surface features and the artifact distributions closely mirrored the projected lines of buildings. Based on laboratory identifications and cataloguing completed in the 1980s, plots of specific artifacts types were completed. The sample in the north is rather small, probably due to the fact that less was visible on the surface because of site formation processes. Nevertheless, the distributions were suggestive of food preparation and living quarters, rather than specialized activities. The sample size in the Southeast Line was larger, probably because site formation processes have kept 18th century materials very close to the surface. Distributions there were again suggestive of living quarters in the northern portion of the Southeast Line, while very little in the way of kitchen materials was seen to the south, where iron scrap and slag predominated. In the middle of the line, a discrete area of sheet metal suggested a possible tinsmith shop. It is very important to recognize that these initial conclusions are intuitive, rather than quantitative demonstrations of function. Artifacts therefore were sorted into the artifact groups used by South (1977) and the patterns were compared to his Carolina and Frontier Patterns. This allowed us to compare artifact patterns and frequencies found at Pluckemin with clearly demonstrated quantitative patterns that have been identified by South and many others. Variations from these norms would allow a more certain interpretation of functional areas. Four specific areas were compared using this approach: the Northeast Line (all six collection squares); a 20 by 30 meter swath through the northern portion of the Southeast Line presumed to be living quarters; a ten meter square at the southernmost end of the Southeast Line that was covered with slag and metal debris; and an adjacent area just to the north that showed some gun parts during surface collection, perhaps indicative of a different functional area. These analyses supported the hypothesis that the North Line and the north part of the Southeast Line were living quarters, while the southernmost area was used for general blacksmithing, and the area just to the north of this in the Southeast Line may have been a gunsmith’s shop.
Interpretations and Conclusions Based on Surface Collection
Artifacts and historical documents indicate that men at the Pluckemin Cantonment prepared and consumed their meals in their barracks. The Kitchen Group in the barracks is variable in frequency but in this analysis constitutes 40% or more of the assemblage. The Activities Group made up over 10% of the sample, while the Architecture Group was variable, ranging from roughly 12% to 38% in the barracks. Although this is a military site, the Arms Group did not show any significant increase over the Carolina or Frontier Patterns. More specialized areas, those that did not serve as living quarters, were easily recognized using the frequency analysis. A conspicuous feature of these areas was the virtual absence of kitchen related items in these areas. This was accompanied by a sharp rise in the Activities Group, which held the vast majority (over 90%) of the artifact in these areas. Adjusting artifact frequencies by removing the large number of miscellaneous and unrecognizable artifacts in the Activities Group gave some greater clarity, making it more likely that one area was a gunsmith shop and the other a general blacksmith shop. The analysis conducted here and in earlier work on the site (Seidel 1987) suggests that this approach can be a very useful and reliable predictor of functional areas on a site. This has been supported by later excavations in these areas (Seidel 1987, 2012b, 2012c) that bear out the predictions made here. The sharp differentiation between living quarters and specialized activities also can be seen in the portion of the Southeast Line thought to be a tinsmith’s shop (SII25 & 26). Here, however, the simple artifact plots made this so apparent the frequency calculations would have been a sterile exercise. These analyses also allow us to make some observations about behavior at Pluckemin. There is no evidence that the troops used a higher percentage of tin and wood wares than the normal civilian population. If this was the case, we would expect a marked decrease in the percentage of ceramics recovered. Also, the proportion of ceramics to bottle glass in the Pluckemin barracks is similar to that seen on the domestic sites of the Carolina Pattern. The Pluckemin pattern therefore seems to reflect a normal usage of ceramics. The large proportion of the Kitchen Group in the Pluckemin barracks is not due to excessive alcohol consumption, although that certainly took place. It seems likely that the preference for ceramic wares characterizes stationary troops, provided that they had access to them from local sources. During a campaign, the fragility of ceramics would have been a drawback. It is worth emphasizing that these conclusions could not have been confidently drawn without quantitative data. Without South’s demonstration of a general pattern for domestic sites, and without putting the Pluckemin materials into a similar analytical framework, we would have been forced into an intuitively based proposition that there appeared to be too high a proportion of ceramics for treen and tin wares to have been common. The same is true of the other frequency analyses that pointed to the gunsmithing and blacksmithing functions. The high kitchen frequencies also indicate that supply was not as serious a problem here as it was in other places. Admittedly, a large number of ceramics does not necessarily mean that there was plenty of food to go into the bowls or onto the plates. But based on the access the troops had to ceramics, and based on the amount of usage (as indicated by breakage), it appears that food supplies were not as severely constrained. Food shortages and shortages of other items such as ceramics often went hand in hand and were due to the same cause, usually a faulty transportation system. In a different vein, the sharp distinctions between living quarters and other areas betray a strict compartmentalization of activities. There is a complete absence of kitchen artifacts in the south, for example, so there is little evidence for food or alcohol consumption in work areas. There is no real evidence for the 41
possession of arms by troops in the barracks, nor do they appear to have cast balls or performed other kinds of work in their quarters. Although speculative, the large concentrations of tin in front of the Southeast Line in SII25 may indicate that craftsmen moved outside when possible, presumably in the spring. Certainly the light would have been better for tinsmithing or intricate work. We should therefore recognize that this kind of activity probably was not restricted to the interior of buildings. The difference between the architecture frequencies in the North and Southeast Lines may have something to do with the type of construction. Log construction would result in few nails and iron hardware, while frame construction would require much more of these items. One possibility is that the frequency shift indicates a difference in construction, perhaps linked to the skill level of the occupants. Civilian buttons and other evidence suggest that artificers lived in the Southeast Line, and thus it may be no accident that more architectural hardware was found there. This may also explain the difference in the sheer quantity of remains found in the north versus the south. The greater amount of material in the south may be due to the higher pay (and perhaps status) of artificers (Seidel 2012a). On the other hand, the greater frequencies in the south may be due solely to more severe erosion exposing these materials. Or discipline could be another factor. Perhaps refuse was more regularly cleaned up and carted away in the artillery barracks to the north, with artillerists on a tighter leash than the quasi-military artificers. If there was less regulated behavior in the artificers’ quarters, they may have adhered to the more familiar domestic or Brunswick pattern of refuse disposal (South 1977, in which garbage often was disposed of immediately outside a house). The archaeological community seems in recent years to have turned away from South’s pattern analysis, and it has to be admitted that this kind of painstaking quantitative analysis does not make for the most riveting narrative. But this approach still has its place, and this is one case where both surface contexts and a functional analysis have been illuminating. If we want to look for different activity or functional areas within a site, we must start with a known and quantifiable pattern. Where we see similarities between our focus area and the published pattern, we can assume a certain function and a shared cultural behavior. Where the pattern deviates from the norm, we can look for internal patterns that explain either a different kind of specialized activity or perhaps a set of norms different from those held in the domestic Anglo-American world of eastern North America. One last conclusion can be drawn from this work, and that is that surface studies on short-term occupations of the American Revolution can be exceptionally productive. However, they have not been the norm, perhaps because of our stereotyped view of archaeology as digging. The initial analyses of surface contexts at Pluckemin had an important impact on research design for the later stages of work, resulting in an increased emphasis upon wide lateral excavations (rather than trenches or small squares) and careful, three-dimensional proveniencing of artifacts. As later reports in this series will show, this approach has both validated the conclusions drawn from surface investigations at Pluckemin and proved to be a most informative approach to this important site.
Martin, Joseph Plumb 1962 Private Yankee Doodle: Being a Narrative of Some of the Adventures, Dangers, and Sufferings of a Revolutionary War Soldier. George F. Scheer, Boston.
Neumann, George C., and Frank J. Kravic 1975 Peterson, Harold 1968 Seidel, John L. 1980 The 1778-1779 Continental Artillery Winter Cantonment, Pluckemin, New Jersey: Preliminary Archaeological Research. Master of Arts Thesis, Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania. Philadelphia. The Archaeology of the American Revolution: A Reappraisal & Case Study at the Continental Artillery Cantonment of 1778-1779, Pluckemin, New Jersey. Ph.D. dissertation. University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. The Book of the Continental Soldier. Stackpole Books, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Collector’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of the American Revolution. Stackpole Books, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
2012a The Continental Artillery at Pluckemin & Middlebrook, 1778-1779. Pluckemin History & Archaeology Series, Report No. 1. Report submitted to the Friends of the Jacobus Vanderveer House, Bedminster, New Jersey. Washington College Public Archaeology Laboratory, Chestertown, Maryland. 2012b Arming the Troops: The Gunsmith’s Shop at Pluckemin, 1778-1779. Pluckemin History & Archaeology Series, Report No. 5. Report submitted to the Friends of the Jacobus Vanderveer House, Bedminster, New Jersey. Washington College Public Archaeology Laboratory, Chestertown, Maryland. 2012c Barracks on an Elegant Plan: Excavations in the Artificers’ Quarters, Southeast Line, Knox’s Artillery Cantonment of 1778-1779. Pluckemin History & Archaeology Series, Report No. 4. Report submitted to the Friends of the Jacobus Vanderveer House, Bedminster, New Jersey. Washington College Public Archaeology Laboratory, Chestertown, Maryland.
South, Stanley 1977 Thacher, James 1862 Military Journal of the American Revolution. Hartford, Connecticut. Method & Theory in Historical Archaeology. Academic Press, New York.
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