ARCHAEOLOGY OF THE TILLETT SITE
Kenneth C. Hartsell*
(*Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Economics, East Carolina University)
Excavations at the Tillett site revealed an historic component in addition to the prehistoric. The historic component is the result of actual occupation of the site by the Green family from 1884 until sometime between 1910 and 1920 (see Site History). Edward C. Green bought the property, described as being ten acres between Mill Creek and Great Gut Ditch, from Spencer Daniel in 1881 and it remained in the Green family until 1971, when it was sold to Gilbert and Linda Tillett.
Only a small amount of historic ceramic material was recovered at 31DR35, the earliest dating to the mid 1800's. Most of the collection falls within the category of general ceramics.
Hard White Ware. The earliest historic ceramics recovered were of hard white ware which was first produced in the 1820's (South 1972). A total of 17 sherds were recovered. These were all small, none larger than 5 centimeters in length, and undecorated.
Porcelain. Six porcelain sherds were recovered. All were white with no decorations, and all sherds were small, averaging less than three centimeters.
Stoneware. This is a salt-glazed utilitarian ware used mostly for pickling and storage crocks, jugs, jars and bowls. Colors vary widely. Those represented in the collection are gray exterior with dark brown interior and buff interior and brown over white exterior with brown interior. A total of 29 stoneware sherds were collected but 25 of these were from a single vessel.
Smoking Pipes. One kaolin pipe bowl fragment designed for insertion of a separate stem was recovered. An American eagle with shield motif is molded into the sides of the bowl (Figure B1a).
Bricks. Brick fragments were collected from several of the squares A11 fragments were small and worn but show a contorted paste with irregular surface as though being hand made. (Page 97)
The largest quantity of glass recovered was small fragments from unreconstructable bottles. These were classified by color and area of vessel from which they originated; neck, body or base, according to the Switzer (1974) typology. A total of 154 sherds were placed in this unclassified category.
Several bottle fragments with measurable features were recovered. The first of these is a small rectangular bottle, 90 millimeters high from shoulder to base with a basal measurement of 25 by 46 millimeters. Also recovered was a small, round bottle base, 44 millimeters in diameter and a bottle neck with molded lip. The inside diameter of the neck is 13 millimeters, outside diameter 25 millimeters and lip diameter 28 millimeters (Figure B1b). All fragments show signs of mold marks.
In addition to the bottle glass, 163 windowpane fragments were recovered. These were small and flat with an average thickness of two millimeters.
Other glass artifacts include two identical shirt buttons. These are white, 4-hole buttons with depressed centers. They have a diameter of 1.1 centimeters and thickness of .3 centimeter (Figure B1c).
Two light blue glass beads were recovered. Both are .6 centi- meter in diameter with a hole diameter of 1.75 millimeters (Figure B1e).
The metal artifacts recovered from the site were classified into three main categories; construction, household items, and ammunition. A large percentage of the metal artifacts recovered were rusted beyond recognition and were placed in an unidentified category.
Nails. A total of 59 identifiable nail fragments were recovered. All are bent and rusted to the extent that accurate typing was not possible.
Spike, iron. Three wrought iron spikes were recovered. The smallest is 15.24 centimeters long with a diameter of 1.4 centimeters. The two larger spikes are 34.29 centimeters long and have a diameter of 1.7 centimeters. One of the spikes still pierces a fragment of the wood beam into which it was driven.
Wire. Three short sections of 2 millimeters diameter wire were collected from the site. It is very brittle and appears to be either plated or some type of alloy. (Page 98)
Eye bolt, iron. The wrought iron eye bolt appears to be broken just above the threads for a length of 11 centimeters. It has a shaft diameter of 1.3 centimeters and an eye diameter of 20 centimeters.
Washers. Two metal washers were recovered from the site. One of these is iron, with a 2.8 centimeters outside diameter and a 1.3 centimeters inside diameter. The other is brass with an out- side diameter of 1.1 centimeters and an inner diameter of .5 centimeter.
Latch, Brass. A rough handmade latch plate was recovered from an historic post hole. The dimensions of the semi-circular plate are 4.7 by 4 centimeters (Figure Blf).
Lead. A small lead fragment weighing .6 gram was recovered.
22 Caliber. Two 22 caliber shells were recovered. Both are 1.1 centimeters long, but the manufacturer's name is indistinguishable.
12 Gauge. The brass casings for three 12 gauge shotgun shells were recovered from the site. Two of these, one Remington and one Winchester, were low based (.9 centimeter). The third, manufacturer unknown, was high based (2.2 centimeters).
Stove Fragment, Iron. An iron plate from a small stove was collected. It measures 10.16 centimeters by 12.70 centimeters.
Button, Copper. A small copper button illustrated in Figure B1d is of two piece construction with a fabric insert. The face is concave with a flower pattern excised to show the fabric. The diameter is 1.5 centimeters.
Animal Collar. The remains of a small leather animal collar were recovered. The fragment is 3.5 centimeters long, .7 centimeter wide and is lined with hemispherical metal studs (Figure B1g).
Coal. 128 grams of coal were recovered during the excavations. (Page 100)
The historic component of 31DR35 is defined by a collection of artifacts concentrated along, and in the immediate vicinity of, the remnant hammock at the northeast edge of the site (Figure B1). The artifact classes indicate a domestic structure, although none was standing at the time of the investigation, and light (or home) industrial activities. Artifacts recovered include ceramics, pipes, glass, windowpane, brick, nails, iron spikes and eye bolts, washers, wire, buttons, and a pet collar.
The datable ceramics indicate an occupation from the mid- to late nineteenth century, but the actual occupation appears to have been between about 1884 and 1920. During the Green family occupancy, a house sat on the site, and there were probably some appurtenant structures, fences and other features. The remaining boat slip cut in from Great Gut suggests a boat house or shed, and fishing activities. (Page 101)
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