Feature 44

Type: Storage Pit


 Length: 2.8 ft

 Width: 2.0 ft

 Depth: 2.5 ft

Volume: 14.00 ft3

Area: 5.60 ft2

Excavation minimap

Related Contexts:

Sq. 190R80

Sq. 200R60

Sq. 200R70

Feature 44


by H. Trawick Ward

Feature 44 was located just east of Structure 13 at 201.2R59.3. This pit appeared at the base of the plowzone as a roughly circular stain of brown loamy soil with some orange mottling and flecks of charcoal. Its center was clearly defined and was encircled by a lighter collar of mottled brown and orange soil representing fill that had been smeared across the subsoil surface by plow action. This rich brown layer, which contained lenses of gray ash, was excavated as Zone 1 and contained animal bone, potsherds, glass trade beads, and a brass bell.

Zone 1 extended to a depth of approximately 0.9 ft and rested on a less compact zone of dark brown soil that contained large amounts of ash and charcoal. This layer, designated Zone 2, was further distinguished from the upper fill by containing a dense concentration of animal bones, including three nearly intact turtle carapaces and a bear humerus. It also contained potsherds, glass trade beads, an ivory bead, an aboriginal clay pipe, and pieces of lead shot. Zone 2 averaged 0.9 ft in thickness.

A lump of orange clay, similar to the surrounding subsoil, lay along the western wall of the feature and was labeled Zone 3. This soil contained no artifacts and may represent slump from the pit wall while the feature was still being used for storage.

The final zone, Zone 4, was identified by a uniform layer of dark reddish fill that was very moist and contained a considerable amount of ash. This zone continued to the bottom of the pit and, like Zones 1 and 2, produced a rich array of artifacts and subsistence remains.

Feature 44 measured 2.8 ft by 2.0 ft in plan and was 2.5 ft deep. The north, south, and east walls were barrel-shaped in profile, whereas the west wall sloped outward at the bottom, creating a bell-shaped profile. It is possible that the original west wall was inadvertently cut through during the course of the excavation. If this was the case, the pit originally would have had a symmetrical barrel shape.

The size and shape of the pit clearly indicate that it initially served as a subterranean storage facility prior to being abandoned and filled, within a brief time period, with refuse. The composition of the fill zones suggests episodes of refuse disposal associated with cleaning in and around hearth and cooking areas. The size of the deposits further suggests multi-household activities.