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Johnson's Island Class Scrapbook

2006-Site Notes

by Dr. Dave Bush


     We began the investigation of Block 6 by deciding where to continue our study.  In past years (1991-1996) we have explored the latrines behind the hospital as well as one of the wings which was known as the "dead house".  This year we are investigating the actual location of the main hospital. 

     I have decided to begin the exploration of the actual hospital structure by starting at the southeast corner of the building.  From February 24th until March 23rd, we spent most of the time setting up the shelter and plotting out the excavations units where our investigations will begin.  Our first day actually collecting artifacts will be March 27th, with Shelby Schools.  As discoveries are made, I will keep this updated as well as the Field Specimen section.  Be sure to check these out. 

       (6/23/06)If you have been following the Field Specimen section, you have seen quite a number of different type of artifacts being recovered.  We are finding quite a number of hospital related items, as expected, but are finding a few more craft related items than anticipated.  We are not finding much in the way of waste products except for pieces that have been abandoned during the manufacturing process.  These have been melted on one end, so I am wondering if there is a medicinal aspect to this?

        The students in the Heidelberg College field school have been transcribing the diary of Lt. Thomas Crowder Jeter, 22nd. Virginia Cavalry.  He was captured July 14th, 1863 and ended up at Johnson's Island by August 2nd.  He was at Johnson's Island until June, 1865 when he was released after taking the Oath of Allegiance.  Although most of his entries are brief, he does cover many topics throughout his stay at the island.

        The storms of the past two days have caused the excavation units to fill up with water.  We have been pumping out the water, but not enough to allow us to continue to explore the subsoil. 


      The above map is of the units excavated.  Our goal now is to strip off the plow scar remains and expose just the features related to past human activity within the prison (or prehistoric use of the island).  As soon as the water recedes, we will continue with the exploration of the features.





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