2004 Field School in Industrial Archaeology West Point Foundry
Michigan Technological University
Posting June 28, 2004 by Scottie Hotchkiss

Blowing Engine, Scottie takes a measurement with Erin looking on
I have been working up at the Blowing Engine for the blast furnace under the direction of graduate student Erin Timms. I excavated a unit to expose a series of stone walls that shrunk my area of excavation by about half. Work in my unit continued and exposed two parallel walls of coursed brick that were a part of four total parallel courses of brick extending between the stone walls. The stone wall was exciting in its own right, but to see parallel brick courses exposed was amazing.

Other excavation units in the Blowing Engine exposed additional stone and brick walls that are beginning to line up in a regular pattern running north to south. Down in the Boring Mill, the crew continued excavations to continue exposing the extent of the northern room of the mill. We used a pump and measured the Boring Mill waterwheel tailrace extending back six meters before turning south. Thursday night we shared what we have learned from this experience with each other.

Stepping back to see all that was accomplished in a week was fantastic. A very regular structure is visible in the Blowing Engine and it extends throughout the area. The tailrace was exposed even further than last year, with measurements actually taken. Some of what was uncovered brought up more questions than what were answered. But this seems to be what archeology is all about. Asking questions and letting the dirt help you answer your questions. In the process we found that there were questions to ask that weren't anticipated, but continued research will hopefully answer those questions as well. I know I'm excited and anxious to hear what's going on even after the field school. This week marks the end of my field school experience as well as the final week with Earthwatch volunteers. I learned a lot and look forward to what else comes out of the ground this summer.

Scottie Hotchkiss

Tamasine stays near the pump at the Boring Mill

Boring Mill, Scott, John, Mike & Pat work on
pumping out & clearing the tailrace

Department of Social Sciences, Michigan Technological University Houghton, MI 49931
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