Clark Farm Tenant House
Archaeological Site

East Granby, Connecticut


Image of PAST crew on siteThe site of the tenant house was the subject of a two-phase archaeological investigation undertaken by Public Archaeology Survey Team, Inc. in connection with highway improvements to a nearby intersection. In a reconnaissance survey, conducted in September 1996, shovel-pit testing was conducted along the edge of the road at 20-meter intervals, and two judgement test pits were excavated near the foundation walls. Both test pits contained substantial modern fill over intact deposits of historic artifacts. Artifacts recovered below the level of the modern fill included an unidentified mammal bone, medicine bottle fragment, creamware and ironstone sherds, and machine-made cut nails.

Judgment Pit 15More intensive investigations were undertaken in October 1998. Prior to additional subsurface testing the foundation was carefully mapped. A total of 9 additional 50 x 50 cm. test pits were excavated in and around the foundation, and a 1 x 1-meter unit was excavated in the dug-cellar portion of the foundation (the western half). Five of the pits were placed against sections of the foundation walls. The sandstone stair steps were cleared of fill and vegetation in order to be drawn and photographed.

The artifact assemblage recovered from the Clark Farm Tenant House Site in this phase reflects both 19th and early 20th-century occupation. Domestic items made up a majority of the 3,341 artifacts: ceramic sherds, buttons, iron nails, glass, coins, two trolley tokens, a pocket watch, and medicine bottles.

A test pit (JP 13) placed just east of the cross wall, which separates the dug cellar from eastern portion of the foundation, yielded whole bricks and brick fragments, mortar, charred wood, coal, and coal ash, possibly indicating a chimney location.

Known disturbance and integrity of site:

Twentieth-century highway construction has encroached upon the front yard of the tenant house site, bringing the pavement close to the foundation remains. Prior to Connecticut Highway Department improvements in 1937, the road was narrower and curved more. Although the house and the sites of the privy and the well shown on the 1937 project map have since been incorporated into the state highway right-of-way, it appears that the pavement still stops short of all these features. Other than the effects of plowing, the other land surrounding the house shows no signs of large-scale disturbance.

The site's proximity to the road has resulted in constant deposit of roadside trash onto the surface, including garbage, beverage containers, car parts, and metal scrap. Assuming no disturbance of the site, these materials can be presumed to form a surface layer that is distinguishable from earlier episodes of fill and intact soils. No evidence of bottle-hunting was observed during the two archaeological investigations of the site.

The excavation of the 1 x 1-meter square in the house cellar indicates the presence of post-occupational stratified fill episodes. These fill levels were indicated by distinct soil types containing modern roadside refuse disposal in the top 20 cm with mixed 19th- and 20th-century artifacts recovered from 20 cm to 60 cm below surface. Test pit excavations similarly indicate the presence of stratified fill episodes. While test pits 15 and 17 indicate some recent mixing of soils from rodent burrows and other disturbances with the presence of modern materials in lower excavation levels, the remaining test pits indicate the presence of intact fill levels. These include test pits 11, 12, and 18, possibly associated with builder's trenches, and test pits 10 and 14 in the eastern section of the house. As the roadside house was occupied for approximately 80 years, until it burned in the 1940s, such mixed fill deposits with modern overburden are what would be expected. The overall stratigraphy of the site allows one to confidently associate the artifacts described herein with the historical occupation of the house from ca. 1860 to ca. 1940.

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