Hello! my name is Yolanda Beltran, an incoming graduate student to the Industrial Archaeology program at Michigan Technological University. I am an archaeologist graduate from the National School of Anthropology and History (ENAH), in Mexico City, and now my goal is to get a master’s degree at Tech. I wrote my thesis about San Buenaventura, a mining site. There, an ore-refining hacienda was founded in XVIII century, located in my home town, Pachuca, State of Hidalgo, in central Mexico. I have worked on historical archaeology and anthropology for some years. This has been my first field season at the West Point Foundry, starting on July 9th in Cold Spring, New York. The history of the XIX century foundry, now in ruins, is very interesting; I have had the opportunity to appreciate the development of technology and industrial settlements in the Hudson Valley. This has been a great experience prior to my master’s classes.
The crew has had intensive work with final details and closing the excavation units this week. Our team leader Dan Trepal, took the last photographs of the archaeological features in the large cupola furnace unit: the brick pillars with granite piers on the top, bluestone footing and large granite bases in the bottom. Also, Elizabeth Norris, took some photos of the holes drilled into the stone floor, near the pillars. After that, this unit was ready to be closed.
Janelle Schaeffer and Mike Deegan finished drawing the profiles in the western extension of unit N64.00, E22.50. Also, Mike and I worked in unit N58.10, E22.97, mapping the segment of a brick wall, which was part of the molding shop doorway but has an unknown function right now. Cal Wacker and Amy Bastion began backfilling the smokestack pit with woodchips.
This final week concluded the work in the northern excavation units; the last task was the drawing of the plan (top) view of the features. Mike, Janelle, Amy and I did triangulation in order to draw the whole units.
To conclude, Elizabeth, Dan and Amy went to the site on Wednesday, very early in the morning to take some photos of those units. Then Janelle and Amy organized tool boxes and made an inventory of the equipment.
And hard work continues! All the members of the crew joined forces for backfilling the excavation units. A dump truck from the Village came to the site to bring woodchips close to the units and we continued working, between dust and heat, with shovels and wheelbarrows.
On Wednesday we had visitors from Scenic Hudson, Mathews Neilson Architects, and the Village. Elizabeth guided them around the site, explaining the characteristics of the foundry’s molding shop. Meanwhile, the rest of us picked up the gear and cleaned tools. This way, the fieldwork concluded. Now there's more information obtained from excavations during the summer 2007, which Dan has to interpret in order to enrich the history of West Point Foundry and preserve its cultural legacy. We all packed up and left to Michigan.
I am very pleased to have been part of this research project, and to have known kind and friendly colleagues. Good luck to everyone! This is the last post for this summer, but we should be back next year for more excavations.