Above: New South Associates' field technician
Below: Site plan drawing of relevant features.
Archaeology of the Spier House
Archaeological excavation of the Spier House site produced a surprisingly low number of artifacts. It is believed that the cleanliness of the owners through the years accounts for the lack of artifacts. The owners seemed to have taken excellent care of the house, property, and personal belongings, keeping the Spier House property well-maintained without depositing much waste around the house and especially in the basement. When they packed up to move, they did not leave their belongings or trash behind.
Artifacts found at the Spier House site through excavation included fragments of ceramics, glass, metal, nails, bone, asphalt shingles, and cement, a button, and farm tool parts. Only a very few of these artifacts were diagnostic, which means that few could be dated to a specific time range. All of the artifacts can generally be dated from the early 19th Century to the mid-20th Century. This site occupation of about 125 years shows that people continuously lived in the Spier House until it was destroyed.
Despite a low number of artifacts, archaeology revealed some important aspects of the Spier House site. Slowly excavated layer by layer, dark stains in the soil roughly circular or square in shape would sometimes appear. These stains, called features, were carefully dug out. They suggested possible evidence of cultural activity such as trash disposal pits or holes that once held structural posts. Excavation of the soil features and analysis of the artifacts recovered in the feature soil showed that the basement, particularly its hearth, served as a focal point of household activity. Three trench excavations to the rear of the house uncovered evidence of different fence lines once crisscrossing the property. This pattern of fences is characteristic of a working farm lot. No artifacts and features were identified to account for a trash disposal area or the African-American slaves who lived and worked at the Spier House property. Evidence of refuse and slave quarters must be located somewhere outside of the project area and current site boundaries. Unfortunately, this evidence has probably been disturbed or destroyed by the later building of the railroad, the rerouting of Fayetteville Road, and nearby modern industrial construction and activities.