|Location:||The Hermitage, Nashville, TN, United States|
|Excavator(s):||Larry McKee, Interns, and Earthwatch Volunteers|
Collectively referred to as the Field Quarter, four brick duplex slave dwellings were constructed sometime after 1821 using brick that was fired for the construction of the brick Hermitage mansion. These cabins were arranged in a rectangle, with Cabin 4 located in the southeastern corner, approximately 70 feet south of Cabin 3. These cabins provided housing for the rapidly growing slave population at the Hermitage; nearly 100 according to the 1830 U.S. Census (Thomas et al. 1995: 1).
Excavation history, procedure, and methods
Cabin 4 was first identified as a possible archaeological site in 1976 by Samuel Smith, an archaeologist working for the State of Tennessee’s Division of Archaeology (Thomas et al 1995: 1). The sole test unit at Cabin 4 was screened through ¼” mesh. Level 2B was excavated in three arbitrary levels and level 2C was divided into structure interior and exterior.
Summary of research and analysis
The goal of the 1995 field work at Cabin 4 was to verify the location of the structure and to recover a sample of artifacts from the site. As anticipated, the northeast corner of the cabin was uncovered in the single 10-by-10 foot unit. Unlike other cabin sites at the Field Quarter, the upper layers were rich in artifacts and there appeared to be few disturbances on either the interior or exterior of the foundation. Most surprisingly, a linear band of limestone blocks, similar to foundation stones, was discovered running north from the northeast corner of the cabin (Thomas et al 1995: 16). However, unlike the foundation, this limestone feature was only one course deep.
Initial artifact analysis in the field, and subsequent DAACS dating (see Cabin 4’s Chronology Page), indicate that the site was occupied between the 1820s into the late-nineteenth century.
Larry McKee and Jesse Sawyer
TRC Solutions and Digital Archaeological Archive of Comparative Slavery
Things you need to know about Field Quarter Cabin 4 before you use the data:
- Consists of a single 10×10 foot test unit.
- No drawings for the two features found in test unit could be found.
- The hypothetical building outline is based on the other three field quarter sites excavated; particularly cabins 2 and 3, which were extensively excavated.
- The DAACS site map as well as coordinate/spatial information in the database is based on the grid established by McKee and used for the 1990 field season. This is the same grid used for the entire Field Quarter: Cabins 1, 2, 3, 4 and KES, as well as shovel testing in the Field Quarter.
The single 10 x 10 foot quadrat excavated at Cabin 4 located the northeast corner of the brick-duplex. The limestone foundation of Cabin 4 was revealed. As with other limestone foundation features excvaated at The Hermitage, the foundation was not given a feature number. No other archaeological features were identified or excavated at Cabin 4, therefore there are no recorded features for this site.
|637||Not a Basin/Cut||95-04-09|
DAACS staff performs a standard set of analyses to produce a seriation-based intra-site chronology for each site included in the Archive. We aspire to use the same analytical methods for each site, specifically correspondence analysis and ware-type manufacturing dates, to develop and assign ceramic assemblages from excavated contexts to site-specific occupation phases (see Neiman, Galle, and Wheeler 2003 for technical details). We provide a mean ceramic date (MCD) and terminus post quem (TPQ) for each intra-site phase. The phases are recorded in the DAACS Phase field of the database.
The use of common analytical methods is designed to increase comparability among phases at different sites. The methods, any changes we made to those methods that are specific to the site and the phase assignments our methods produce are summarized below. DAACS encourages users of Archive data to help explore improvements to our methods.
For some sites, the original excavators developed intra-site chronologies and, where these exist, they are described on the Background page for the site. In the case of The Hermitage’s Cabin 4, the principal investigators did not develop a chronology for the site. The DAACS chronology presented here is the only current chronology for the site.
DAACS Seriation Method
Due to the exceptionally small sample size at Cabin 4, derived from a single 10 x 10 foot excavation unit, DAACS was unable to produce a seriation-based chronology for the site. We present below a site-wide Mean Ceramic Date and three TPQ estimates for the site based on the ceramic ware types excavated from the single unit.
Cabin 4 Site Dates
The site-wide Mean Ceramic Date points to the occupation’s temporal placement in the 1850s. Two other measures that are less sensitive to excavation errors and taphonomic processes that might introduce a small amount of anomalously late material into an assemblage were used. They are TPQp90 and TPQp95. The TPQp95 of 1840 provides a robust estimate of the site’s TPQ based on the 95th percentile of the beginning manufacturing dates for all the artifacts comprising it. The TPQp90 of 1820 provides a more robust estimate of the site’s TPQ based on the 90th percentile of the beginning manufacturing dates for all the artifacts comprising it. These ceramic TPQ estimates are more robust against excavation errors and taphonomic processes that might have introduced a few anomalously late sherds in an assemblage.
|Site||MCD||BLUE MCD||TPQ||TPQp90||TPQp95||Total Count|
Field Quarter Cabin 4 Harris Matrix
The Harris Matrix summarizes stratigraphic relationships among excavated contexts and groups of contexts that DAACS staff has identified as part of the same stratigraphic group. Stratigraphic groups and contexts are represented as boxes, while lines connecting them represent temporal relationships implied by the site’s stratification, as recorded by the site’s excavators (Harris 1979).
Stratigraphic groups, which represent multiple contexts, are identified on the diagram by their numeric designations (e.g. SG01). Contexts that could not be assigned to stratigraphic groups are identified by their individual context numbers (e.g. 95-04-08).
Boxes with color fill represent contexts and stratigraphic groups with ceramic assemblages large enough to be included in the DAACS seriation of the site (see Chronology). Their seriation-based phase assignments are denoted by different colors to facilitate evaluation of the agreement between the stratigraphic and seriation chronologies. Grey boxes represent contexts that were not included in the seriation because of small ceramic samples.
See Cabin 4 Chronology for stratigraphic and phase information. Please note that some of the contexts present in the chronology analysis are not visualized on the Harris Matrix. The contexts that are not included do not have any stratigraphic relationships with other contexts. The lack of relationships can occur for a few reasons but two common examples are 1) the artifacts are from a surface collection, which is entered into DAACS as a context but does not have recorded relationships to other contexts that are below it; 2) in cases where topsoil and plowzone are stripped and discarded, there may be features below the plowzone that are comprised of a single context. Since the plowzone does not exist as a documented context with artifacts, it cannot seal the single-context feature. DAACS also does not record subsoil as a context, so there is nothing for that single context feature to intrude or seal.
This Harris Matrix is based on data on stratigraphic relationships recorded among contexts in the DAACS database. It was drawn with the ArchEd application. See http://www.ads.tuwien.ac.at/arched/index.html.
For a printable version, download the Harris Matrix [155.58 KB PDF].
PDF of composite excavator’s plan, compiled by DAACS from original field drawings, with excavation units and features labeled.
CAD site plan in .dxf format.
Thomas, Brian W., Larry McKee , and Jennifer Bartlett
1995 Summary Report on the 1995 Hermitage Field Quarter Excavation. Ms. on file, The Ladies' Hermitage Association, Hermitage, Tennessee.