Sunday, January 20, 2008
Found a story here about archaeologists from The National Park Service beginning an excavation at Abraham Lincoln's boyhood home site at Knob Creek, Kentucky. Lincoln and his family lived at this farm from the time he was 2 years old until he was almost 8 years old.
The article doesn't specifically state what the archaeologists hope to find. Certainly they would hope to find any "footprint" of the cabin itself, even though the original cabin has long since vanished. Archaeologists are trained to recognize any depressions in the ground, post holes where any logs might have been sunken into the ground, and so on. Recovered nails could be used to help determine the location as well. Original records of the property deeds would be researched to help place the location.
Believe it or not, the archaeologists would love nothing more to find a trash pit from the farm, or even the location of any outhouses! These types of pits can hold virtual treasure troves for archaeologists, for they typically include glass bottles, plates, eating utensils, pipe bowls, children's toys, and so forth. Families of the era and of earlier times would use outhouses as trash pits in addition to the more obvious use. Any unpleasant reminders of the main use for the outhouse would have long since solidified.
A real find, of course, would be something which archaeologists could identify positively as being associated with the Lincoln family. It's unlikely, though, that the family would have had any monogrammed glassware or plates since it was so poor. Such items are more typically found in well-to-do areas of the U.S. such as Williamsburg.
Obviously any wooden items and clothing would be long-since vanished. Wood and textiles decay rapidly in wet climates such as Kentucky's. Those are more likely to be recovered in the American west and other dry climates.
Let's hope the archaeologists uncover something significant. One of my many other interests besides Lincoln is the field of archaeology and I've participated in a couple of digs. This story will hold my interest.
Posted by Geoff Elliott at 3:53 PM