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Rappahannock Landing Archaeological Survey ... - Fauquier County

Rappahannock Landing Archaeological Survey ... - Fauquier County


SURVEY METHODOLOGY The goal of the archaeological survey was to identify any archaeological sites on or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) within the project area. The survey methodology employed to meet this goal was chosen with regard to the project’s scope (i.e., the project’s potential to affect significant resources, should they be present), the potential of the project area to contain significant archaeological resources, and local field conditions. Based on the fact that the project area is located in a battlefield the area was judged to have very high potential for Civil War-related resources. Archival/Historical Research Prior to the fieldwork, archival and historical research was conducted on the project area, specifically on the first and second Battles of Rappahannock Station. To complete the research goal, Dovetail examined records at numerous repositories in the Fauquier County/Fredericksburg area and on the World Wide Web. Agencies and repositories that were visited during the work included the Fauquier County Library, the Virginiana Room at the Rappahannock Regional Library in Fredericksburg, and the Simpson Library at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg. Individuals and resources at the White Oak Museum in Stafford County and the Northern Virginia District office of the National Park Service were also consulted. Online resources included the Library of Congress in Washington D.C., the Library of Virginia in Richmond, the Virginia Department of Historic Resources (DHR), and several other historical research web pages. Documents gathered during this work included maps, photographs, narratives, and general histories (This material was presented in the Historic Context section). Archaeological Fieldwork The archaeological survey consisted of both a pedestrian survey and subsurface testing, augmented by a metal detector survey. The pedestrian survey was performed to identify disturbed portions of the project area and any cultural features with surface visibility. Subsurface testing involved the excavation STPs within the project area. STPs were excavated at 15.2 meters (50 foot) intervals across the testable portions of the project area. Shovel tests were given sequential alphanumeric designations (e.g., STP A1). Shovel test transect H was established with a grid north-south orientation along the eastern edge of the field (see Appendix A for project map, p. 47). STPs were not excavated in areas of known disturbance or standing water. STPs measured approximately 30 cm (12 inches) in diameter and were excavated to penetrate at least 10 cm (4 inches) into sterile subsoil where possible. Shovel test radials were excavated at 11.4 meters (25 foot) intervals in cardinal directions from shovel tests that produced cultural materials. 23

All soils excavated from STPs were passed through 0.64 cm (0.25 inch) hardware mesh cloth. Each natural stratum was given a stratum designation (e.g., L1) in order to delineate strata relationships. All artifacts were recovered and bagged by stratum. The STP numeric designation, level, excavator, date and material recovered were recorded on field tags for each level. Soil conditions, weather information, and notations on disturbances were recorded within field notes. The metal detecting survey involved a 7.62 meter (25 foot) transect grid across the parcel. Metal detecting was conducted in a zig-zag pattern within each transect to ensure maximum coverage. To make certain that the metal detector was registering properly a previously found Civil War bullet was buried approximately 25.4 cm (10 inches) below ground surface, and the metal detector was scanned over the buried bullet. 24

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