Synopsis of the Archaeological Study
In May of 2010 Hunter Research began a Phase I/II (identification and assessment-level) archaeological survey of the Roseberry House property in Phillipsburg. The purpose of this investigation was to generate information in support of an assessment of archaeological sensitivity of the property. The Roseberry House site consists of a late 18th-century Georgian-style stone house and surrounding yard. Archaeological excavations around the and within the building yielded 18th through 20th century artifacts. Artifacts from a narrow builder’s trench along the northern side of the house suggest a construction date in the late 18th or very early 19th centuries. Significant stratigraphic sequences within the kitchen wing provided information regarding the building and kitchen wing’s sequence of construction. While 20th-century landscaping and utility installation have impacted the archaeological of the site, significant deposits remain within the kitchen wing; along the eastern and southern side of the kitchen and well; and in the rear yard. The principal product of this work is this report, which includes maps, photographs, details of the subsurface testing results, a catalog of recovered artifacts and an archaeological assessment with a series of recommendations for archaeological resource management, public outreach opportunities and future research.
There was a consistent scatter of artifacts throughout the shovel testing grid. Tests 5, 10, 11, 12, 20, 21, 26 and 30 yielded significant quantities of historic artifacts. The types of artifacts recovered did not vary significantly across the shovel testing grid; redware, creamware, whiteware, yellowware and ironstone sherds were recovered as well as window and bottle glass, cut nails, wire nails, brick fragments and shell and animal bone fragments. The artifacts represent a typical yard scatter for a property occupied from the late 18th century onwards, though the recovered materials date mostly from the early 19th century and later.
A total of 1,682 artifacts were recovered from the Phase II archaeological investigations conducted at the Roseberry House. No prehistoric artifacts were recovered during the investigation of the property. Building materials and tools/hardware items, such as nails, brick, mortar and window glass, account for 50.7% of the assemblage. Ceramic vessel sherds accounts for 23.1%. Vessel glass (primarily bottle glass) makes up 17.1%. Faunal material accounts for another 3.2% of the assemblage. The remaining categories represent only a very small percentage of the total assemblage. These include pipe stems, lamp chimney glass and hardware, buttons, a buckle, and the penny dating to 1817. . . . Artifacts did not yield any makers marks or diagnostic features that could allow a more specific dating or could help determine their place of manufacture.
Ceramic vessels serve as an important dating tool for archaeologists because so much information is available regarding the dates of manufacture for different types of wares. Although some ceramics with dates of manufacture beginning in the 18th century were recovered, specifically creamware [1762-1820] (20.8%), pearlware [1780-1890?] (10.2%), Chinese export porcelain [1660-1800] (2.2%), Jackfield-type redware [1740-1850] (0.8%), and delftware (tinenameled ware) [1600-1802] (0.3%), the date ranges all extend at least into the early 19th century. There is a notable absence of ceramics common on pre-Revolutionary War sites such as white salt-glazed stoneware and buff-bodied Staffordshire. In summary, the ceramic assemblage recovered from the excavations at the Roseberry House argues for a late 18th-century date (post-Revolutionary War) of initial occupation/ construction, especially considering the presence of redware, creamware and pearlware in the builders’ trench identified in Excavation Unit 2. As noted above, there seems to be a slight change in disposal patterns over time shown by the shovel testing. The artifacts from Shovel Tests 5, 10, 11 and 12 are generally 19th-century in date (whitewares predominate), while those from the apparent concentration southeast of the kitchen wing (Shovel Tests 20, 21, 25 and 26) appear to be earlier (with creamwares and pearlwares present).
ASSESSMENT AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Archaeological survey of the Roseberry House property aimed to provide a comprehensive assessment of the archaeological potential of the property. Areas where restoration-related ground disturbance is anticipated were also given particular attention. The results of this investigation are discussed below by general area with specific archaeological resource management recommendations being offered and illustrated in an archaeological sensitivity site plan. Several recommendations regarding avenues of future archaeological investigation are outlined.