Archaeology of Site #
Archaeology of Fort Pownal Site #ME 418-2 (1961-66)
Dr Alaric Faulkner, professor of Historical Archaeology at University of Maine, Orono has graciously loaned a number of representitive artifacts from the Fort Pownal dig. These artifacts will be on display at the park throughout the 2009 season.
The state Bureau of Parks and Recreation provide funding for a team of archaeologists to excavate four historic sites in coastal Maine. The purpose of these excavations was to upgrade historic interpretation at these sites. Fort Pownal was one of them.
Wendall Hadlock was the overall project supervisor. Gardner Lane, professor of anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania, led the Pownal excavation with a crew size of 5-6. Three of whom were local teenagers. Debby Carey kept records and a journal for all the digs.
Five thousand dollers were allocated for the Pownal site. Work was done during the summers of 1961-66 at varying levels of intensity. The goal was to identify the site in greater detail for interpretation for the public.
Some archival research and a surface survey revealed two sites. The blockhouse and earthworks were excavated first. 6X6' grids were used. Artifacts were numerous and were divided into four main categories : domestic, pottery and glass, coins and non-domestic.
Structure A, located about 200; ENE of the fort was excavated later. Artifacts uncovered there indicated living quarters and a workshop. The archaeological report suggested that there may have been two separate buildings. Lloyd Varney , an amateur arcaheologist, dug an area outside of structure A and found other walls and more artifacts. His field notebook was lost and most of his work was recreated from memory.
Hadlock’s crew used varying grid patterns. The location of items was not precise. In structure A a parallel trenching method was used that made it impossible to determine the architecture of the building.
The work seemed constrained by the funding. The final report was very simplistic by today’s standards. It was mainly added proff of what had generally been known for almost two hundred years. That Fort Pownal was a colonial outpost and trading center. The last words in the archaeological report are that "there is still more to be done".
A master’s degree project in 1984 by Sandra Gordon Olsen upgraded the the archaeological work that had been done in the 1960's. She analalyzed methods and found that ‘ mapping was inaccurate and no datum was used in the blockhouse’. Artifacts were reorganized and cataloged. They were used to identify in greater context the every day life at the fort. She also suggests that there is much more work that could be done.