Friday, March 23, 2007

Re: Midden (histarch discussion)

There's also the "Southern Disposal Pattern" that Stanley South discussed as I recall, where purposeful deposits are made of broken ceramics and other artifacts added to the paths between activity "centers" (my word) i.e., outbuildings. There are some soils I've found that unbeknown to the person treading on them when you add water become "compensation row" so to speak as slick as ice almost perhaps why the pattern develops in clay soils, perhaps. Difficult to determine under a modern landscape they might show walkways to a subterranean ice house, out-house, corn crib or other outbuilding now gone.

At the Captain Brewster Hawkins House in East Setauket, NY (naval architect of "Wanderer" which under Louisiana cotton merchant ownership became the "last slaver" putting in at Jekyll Island, Georgia in 1858, (wikipedia) and held as a "chess piece" by both sides in the ensuing civil war) in limited investigations of its "sheet deposit" I also found large trailed slipware "milk pans" just below the grass in backyard allowed a "sandbox" for the doctor of psychopharmacology from the Lee's of Massachusetts and his wife from Virginia. Brewster Hawkins ran a ship chandlery from his small stone dock, supplying ships and boats in Setauket Harbor (nearby "Drowned Meadow" that became Port Jefferson, NY) before the hypothesized "rebirth" of 18th century ship building in the 1840s he started that spread also into "Port".

I sometimes think there may be a "revolution" midden as for example nearby, the Roe Tavern, a famous spy in Washington's spy network, and where "George Washington slept here" was moved across the North Country Road, a small park now.

The problem with that "rebirth" is that in the "Year Without Summer" ("... also known as the Poverty Year or Eighteen hundred and froze to death, was 1816, in which severe summer climate abnormalities destroyed crops in Northern Europe, the American Northeast and eastern Canada. Historian John D. Post has called this "the last great subsistence crisis in the Western world." - Wikipedia) it was recorded that the "mechanics" those that built ships in Setauket, had to wear their coats all summer. So a "rebirth" in the 1840s probably refers more to the number of shipyards, perhaps rather than the industry which might have been there for a while. A 17th century reference is in regards to an original settler who was thought to have violated some principle and allowed to stay long enough to build a boat to leave. In the 17th century, John Scott, whom one historian has called the "first president" in America, as he represented over 200 Long Islanders, when he presented a petition to the re-established Dutch government in New Amsterdam (New York) for religious freedom, and not the sworn unquestioning allegiance to the Prince William of Orange (later William of "William and Mary" of England) the petition which was torn-up unread in public. He was arrested in Setauket and through a deal with the Connecticut government imprisoned there. His wife came to visit, apparently about to give birth, and as the story goes, after snickers, allowed to see her husband John Scott. Under her dress was a long length of rope, with which John Scott, a native of eastern Long Island, escaped both never heard from in history again. Perhaps the origin of the usage "scot free"? For a more recent historical description see, "Long Island History: John Scott, Scoundrel".

Today it was said to be the first use of O.K. in America for Old Kinderhook where President Martin Van Buren had his "summer" White House, and when asked where the President was "O.K." I was part of a crew that went on to test for the "summer White House" there for the National Park Service now restored, it and its Italianate bell-tower returned apparently to its original mauve and maroon colors. (I want to apologize for getting off topic here. If you want to read there's a more modern historical view of "Long Island History: John Scott, Scoundrel" The history was written by W.E. Woodward "A New american History" published in 1936. I had field school partly in a scallop shell midden, now the official shell of New York State.) 3/30/07 I wouldn't be a very good "historical" archaeologist amateur if I didn't say that the English Civil War was at the bottom of John Scott's troubles too commemorated in "Scott's Cove" in Setauket, NY, where a spring once ran from hydrostatic pressure, even bottled, ran dry, across the small embayment from Poquott, where it's thought but not yet found a small one gun fort was "Fort Nonsense" I think. John Scott had land grants to Long Island from Oliver Cromwell for Quakers who he seemed tolerant enough of. However, King James only granted as far as I know Gardiners Island to David "Lion" Gardiner spying on the Dutch in Connecticut and royal "fort architect" who left Old Saybrook (... the oldest town in the Lower Connecticut River Valley. ... park created by The Fort Saybrook Monument Park Association", "Fort Saybrook, Connecticut's first military fortification, built in 1636 by the British" and residential complex of Katherine Hepburn and family) after hostilities broke out, mostly according to his descendant Robert Gardiner, over the loose sales of firearms by the Dutch to the natives. On the failure of Cromwell's son and the return of the royalty to the crown under Charles II, John Scott's fate was less than shall we say advantageous holding useless deeds for Quakers?

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