Preliminary Report Excavations at Joseph Lloyd Manor Jenna Coplin, M.A.

Preliminary Report Excavations at Joseph Lloyd Manor
Jenna Coplin, M.A.
Center for Public Archaeology
Submitted to
Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities
Robert MacKay, Ph.D., Director
September 17, 2009
Executive Summary
Supported by and in partnership with the Society for the Preservation of Long
Island Antiquities, the Center for Public Archeology at Hofstra University has
excavated a small structure associated with Joseph Lloyd Manor. Initial
interpretations suggest a domestic site related to enslaved people of African
descent. After three years, excavations have amassed sufficient data, including
thousands of artifacts requiring detailed analysis. It is this work that holds the
potential to recover aspects of African American history that might otherwise be
Excavations have identified several areas of interest. Large segments of the
foundation were uncovered intact including a exterior cellar entrance. It is possible
that more architecture exists on SPLIA property. Excavations of the interior of the
foundation revealed historic fill. Trash was dumped inside the foundation walls and
no clearly modern materials are associated. The fill may relate to a modernization of
the manor house in the past. This fill is a disturbance as its origin is unknown but it
is a contained deposit and intact material related to the cellar space may yet be
Several deposits outside the foundation relate to the occupants of the structure and
their activities. Evidence indicates the addition of a front porch on the structure.
Food bone, oyster shell and ceramics accumulated under the porch leaving a thin
midden. Further down slope, excavations uncovered two large posts, most likely
from a fence or gate. Materials also accumulated over time with these features and
include a key, horseshoe, ceramics, food bone and a spoon. Close analysis of
materials from these and one other small dump will help confirm the dates of
occupation and the details of the structure’s use as domestic space. Initial analysis
suggests amid 18thc to mid 19th c occupation
In 2009-2010 analysis will focus on ceramics and faunal materials recovered from
the site. Faunal data will contribute to our understanding of occupants’ dietary
structure, food preparation and procurement techniques. Ceramic analysis will
focus on types used, access to materials, locally produced wares, and, among other
items, date ranges. Together these categories will form a base for subsequent
research questions.
We look forward to sharing useful information about Joseph Lloyd Manor based on
the ongoing analysis of materials recovered from these excavations. A
comprehensive detailed report on fieldwork and findings follows.
Beginning in 2007, the partnership between the Society for the Preservation of Long
Island Antiquities and the Center for Public Archaeology at Hofstra University has
undertaken research, education and outreach programs at Joseph Lloyd Manor
serving the Long Island community. As archaeological research is the foundation of
the CfPA, analysis of materials and interpretation of excavations undertaken at
Joseph Lloyd Manor is at the core of the Center’s contribution. This management
summary serves as a status report of our findings thus far. A formal archaeological
survey report will be submitted to SPLIA, along with recovered archaeological
materials and original data upon the completion of the analysis.
Archaeological Research
Archaeology is a unique tool able to recover information about past peoples in
relation to historic documents and also in their absence. The residue of activities
can speak for people when other resources lack their voices. This, for some, may be
the only history remaining. People of African descent brought to this country against
their will were rarely the topic of surviving documents. Births, deaths and records of
sale are often all African Americans as descendants have available to trace family
and community histories. Joseph Lloyd Manor, however, may offer unique potential
to recover and make available information about Long Island history. Lloyd Manor
is associated with a rare body of documents, as home to Jupiter Hammon. Hammon
is the second known African American author and seven of his works survive today
addressing both master and enslaved about the injustices of slavery. His work is
both powerful and complex. However, Hammon was not the only person of African
descent enslaved by the Lloyds. Hammon, likely, lived in the manor house. A small
structure to the west of the manor may have served as home for others owned by
the Lloyds. The day-to-day lives of those occupying the structure certainly differed
from that of Hammon. Archaeological excavations seek evidence of household
activities left behind by the occupants of this structure and a broader understanding
of African American life on Lloyd Neck.
Figure 1 Detail of 1814 map
Supported by documentary evidence, including 1814 and 1836 maps depicting the
structure, Professor Christopher N. Matthews initially interpreted the site as an 18 th
century slave quarter pending further research. Excavations first began in the
summer of 2007 and were organized by Matthews as part of a Hofstra University
field school. Professor Matthews supervised subsequent work that included field
school students as well as volunteers with Jenna Coplin serving as Field Director.
Although aspects of the research design shifted overtime, reflecting collected data,
the main focus of the overall project has remained unchanged.
On-going analysis seeks to answer several broad and foundational questions.
Defining and separating intact primary deposits is a recurrent part of this process.
These deposits offer clear connections between past peoples and research
questions. Indentified areas subsequently become a focus of inquiry. This directs
research seeking to date the duration of occupation and understand day-to day
activities of occupants, for example. Research currently assumes a connection
between those enslaved at Lloyd Manor and the occupants of the structure as much
accumulated information is in support. However, this connection remains part of
research and work will continue to further solidify this connection. As noted, the
structure is indicated on maps from the 19th century. This covers the period of
gradual emancipation. Deposits may represent changing occupations associated
with local currents created by the impact of manumission.
Excavations were undertaken using standard archaeological practice subsequent to
preliminary documentary research and survey of the landscape. A site-wide three
dimensional reference grid was implemented. This one-meter grid allowed past
excavations to be tied in and could do the same for any future work. The grid was
established at the onset of the 2007 season with the assistance of Professor James
Moore of Queens College and CUNY Graduate Center. A total station was loaned to
the project by Queens College. The site zero-point is located at the base of the
southeast corner of the 1910 garden wall adjacent to the manor. The bottom brick of
the fifteenth course from the top serves as site zero. Excavation units were defined
by this grid all three seasons. For example, a one-meter square unit whose
southwest corner was located two meters south and ten meters west of zero would
be identified as S2W10 according to site nomenclature. Local datum stakes placed
near excavations using the site zero. These were used to record elevation in terms of
meters above or below site datum. A level/ feature system was used for
documenting excavations. Larger depositional events were typically defined as
layers while contained, intrusive, or the like, deposits were given sequential feature
numbers, recorded and defined. Levels were identified with uppercase letters, while
subdivisions within levels received the addition of a sequential number. Features, as
noted, were recorded with numbers and subdivisions were identified by the
addition of lower case letters. Units were excavated using trowels, occasionally
shovels and rarely, rock hammers. Materials were screened using 1/8” and ¼” gauge
depending on the deposit. Ceramic, metal, coal, slag, glass, shell, bone, mortar,
charcoal were kept as well as any materials in question. Bricks were occasionally
kept but most often noted and discarded. Dressed stones removed from area near or
abutting intact foundation were drawn photographed and discarded. Soil samples
were kept from specific excavations.
Figure 2 Areal view of exposed foundation and northeast corner with interior fill
Areas of Interest
Figure 2 Structure's south foundation showing repair and midden with post feature.
The first two field seasons (2007 and 2008) sought to define architectural remains
of the structure indicated on the 1814 map. The area is a flat platform that gently
sloped upward to meet the surrounding hill at the north end. A regular, rectalinear
depression was evident on the surface as were dressed stones and burned bricks.
Excavations revealed the remains of a foundation built into the surrounding hill. A
triangular cut was made into the slope hill. This cut formed a rectangular space by
removing a portion of the hill leveling it with the area approximately 8 meters to the
south. This formed the north end of the platform and the northeast portion of the
foundation. The top portion of the north wall remaining is slightly higher in
elevation than the south portion. Being below ground and deeper, the north section
of the foundation most likely served as a cellar and retaining wall. An exterior
entrance to the cellar was identified in 2009. The relationship between these
features requires additional analysis. To the south, foundation stones were laid a
single course wide and only a few deep. Here a builder’s trench was filled with
cobbles possibly to help support the narrow foundation on this dynamic landscape.
Figure 3 Exterior stepped cellar entrance with south foundation visible on the right side of image
A primary goal of ceramic analysis is to seek support for a construction date of the
foundation. Work also endeavors to connect the portions of the foundation
recovered to one another and identify subsequent modifications such as the repair
visible in Figure 1. (Immediately to the left of the north arrow, two stones were
inserted subsequent to the foundation construction.)
During the 2008 season, excavations confirmed the interior of foundation had been
used to contain trash. This appears to have occurred after abandonment and
possible demolition of the structure. The trash appears historic in origin with no
indication of modern materials. Work seeks to identify depositional layers
considering both number and timing of events. The lower layers appear to be
related to a single event as ceramics cross mend across several layers. The
interpretation of these materials will be difficult. As they represent a secondary
deposit, analysis is unlikely to contribute to larger research questions and represent
a lower priority. Separation of any deposits related to the use of the cellar by
occupants may prove difficult but remains a priority.
Figure 4 Midden in front of foundation, builder’s trench excavated and post feature (Harbor to right.)
Over the course of several seasons a thin sheet midden of materials associated with
the structure was identified. This area lies between the foundation and harbor. Also
identified were a series of features evenly spaced likely the results of posts placed in
the ground after the foundation was built. These posts appear formed some type of
addition onto the structure most likely a porch. Materials in the sheet midden would
have accumulated underneath the porch after its construction and therefore relate
to the occupants.
Ceramics recovered from the midden during the 2007 and 2008 seasons included a
number of fragments from Whieldon wares including fragments of a teacup and a
fragment of flatware with a molded rim. This particular type was first produced
around 1740 and remained in production until 1770. A variety of creamwares and
Chinese porcelains were also recovered. These ceramics have much wider
production ranges continuing to be made until the 1820s. However deposits also
contained Rouen Faience with a production range from 1700 to 1800. A number of
ceramics, identified as locally produced redwares, were also uncovered. No clear
chronology currently exists for these wares. Researchers plan to work with local
organizations and historians, such as Rex Metcalf, to contribute to the identification
of these ceramics. Research seeks to identify activities represented by ceramics and
other materials recovered while developing a tighter temporal sequence of the site.
Figure 5 Midden at base of hill
This summer testing occurred across a larger area. The site grid was used to plot
small systematic excavations, called shovel test pits, across the landscape. Test
excavations revealed domestic deposits clustered near the structure and notable
gaps, absences of cultural materials, upslope and toward the manor. A dense
deposit of domestic materials was identified below the house platform. This area is
approximately seven meters south of the midden associated with the porch. These
test units were opened up into a larger excavation area. Midden deposits were
relatively consistent across the horizontal layers excavated and a variety of
ceramics, iron objects and food bone was recovered. No formal analysis has been
undertaken with respect to these materials as of yet but they will be included in
research this year. These materials, it was evident, were deposited in association
with two large post holes, approximately five and half feet apart center to center.
Initial interpretation identifies these as fence or gateposts. Analysis will identify any
groupings of materials based on time or use or indicating process of accumulation.
Figure 6 Midden deposit outside foundation (Left side of image.)
An additional small dump was found outside the foundation near the cellar
entrance. Remains of oyster and ceramic suggest domestic refuse associated with
either the porch or the structure prior to the porch’s construction. Analysis seeks to
fit the dump into the site chronology and use faunal materials to contribution to
dietary reconstruction.
Future Work
Many artifacts are in the early stages of processing and students from both Hofstra
University and City College are assisting in the time consuming efforts. All artifacts
will be cleaned, sorted and identified. Identifications will be entered into a database.
This data, coupled with information recorded in the field will be used to refine
interpretations of depositional layers. An initial focus on the specific areas of the site
identified above seeks to provide a foundation for additional analysis.
A preliminary ceramic analysis undertaken in the spring of 2009 will serve as the
base for a more in depth analysis. Ceramics considered locally produced will be a
research focus. Work will seek to develop testable categories for these wares based
on excavations at Joseph Lloyd Manor. Other wares will be identified and looked at
for production dates, type and origin among other categories. Faunal materials are
currently being identified and organized for independent analysis at Hunter
College’s zooarchaeology lab. The analysis seeks information about diet, preparation
and procurement of food based on faunal remains recovered at the site. Similar
analysis will include other artifact classes and all these endeavors will also include
supporting documentary research to expand findings.
Preliminary interpretations of archaeological excavations at Joseph Lloyd Manor
suggest intact domestic midden deposits outside the remnants of the structure’s
foundation and cellar walls. These deposits hold promise for understanding the dayto-day activities of the structure’s occupants in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Architectural remains including foundation fragments and a cellar entrance require
closer analysis to separate out intact deposits encountered during excavation.
Interior fill deposits, although intrusive, may be connected to activities in and
around the manor. Archaeological research is a process that unfurls, contributing in
new and expanding ways. Coupled with documentary research, all these finding
seek to add to knowledge of African American history in the Town of Huntington.
- 10 -