There are some really amazing archaeological sites in the United States and one of them is the Reed Farmstead which is located in West Virginia. This huge farm has been in its place for over two centuries now and has a lot of significance in the historical reconnection of the present with the past. The site provides a major input towards understanding the past of the area and the artefacts that have been discovered here have been major contributors towards the reconstruction of the history of this place and the significance it carries. With the history of the farm dating as back as the early years of the 19th century when the first owner of the farmstead, William Reed settled here, the archaeological work has been able to discover nearly 900 unique items of both household and personal use. These items tell a lot about the lifestyle of the family at that time and there is particular importance of the Civil War related items too. To find out more about what artefacts were found there and how they fit into the whole picture according to the archaeologists, keep reading.
What are artefacts?
When it comes to archaeological exploration, the most important part of the whole project is the recovery of items that were created and used by the people of that time as a tool or artwork. In the case of Reed Farmstead, the archaeologists were able to unearth a vast collection of artefacts that contains nearly 900 unique items. These were categorized into four categories namely Civil War, household, personal and farm items.
Civil War Artefacts
During the third phase of the excavation project at the Reed Farmstead, there were several items discovered that dated back to the civil war times. There were some very interesting findings here and among the items found, there were things like a sword plate, an eagle button, a bullet, a knapsack hook, an unfired percussion cup, Burnside & Spencer cartridges, revolver bullet, a fragment of an eagle’s wing and a 1958 model insignia from an army hat. The exact ownership and the matter of how exactly these items got here is a question that is very difficult to answer and so far no one has been able to figure it out. There is only speculation that the presence of these artefacts may have been due to small fights and encampments that may have been formed here during the war period. There is also the record that the son of Andrew Garrett, Simon was a soldier in the Confederate Army too.
The exploration project at the Reed Farmstead resulted in the unearthing of a very sizeable treasure of artefacts that are related to daily household use. They also provided an insight into how advanced the society was at that time and how the people lived their daily lives. Among the artefacts found, there were items like a coffee grinder, an alphabet plate, a tea cattle spout, a cream ware plate, panel bottles, embossed panel bottles, pictorial flask, hand-painted stoneware with salt-glaze, flat iron, utensils, case bottle and a lot more. The items clearly show a level of sophistication in the lifestyle of the inhabitants of that time.
Being a farm itself, there were naturally several discoveries that included farm tools too. Among the artefacts found here, there was an auger drill, a padlock, a hand scythe, a hoe, a scythe tang, a cut nail, harness buckles, a horse bit, a pitchfork, a cowbell and a plough too. These items and their sophistication provide a very interesting view on the kind of technology that was being used at that time. With these tools, one can also get an idea of the kind of life the inhabitants of the farm were used to living and how good their living conditions were as compared to the norms of the time.
The farm excavation project also naturally unveiled several items that were of personal use and could have belonged to different members of the family living there. Determining the exact owners would still be a very difficult and probably impossible task. The artefacts that were found there included buttons, smoking pipes of different kinds, some unidentified brass objects, a one cent coin, gun flint, suspender clasp, an ink bottle, straight pins and a slate pencil too.
Each and every item found at the site contributed highly towards understanding the lifestyle of the people at that time and also helped the archaeologists in developing a timeline of events of some sort using the dating process on different items.