Artifacts from the Site Tell the Story
The Dowden's Ordinary site tells archaeologists use the tools of historical archaeology to uncover rural tavern life in Montgomery County. Historical records indicated when the tavern was built, who owned it, how its use changed over time and when it was finally torn down. Archaeological excavations reveal what the written record does not disclose — everyday life of its owners and guests.
Archaeological work began in 2002, with a grid mapped out in ten foot squares over the area. A Series of shovel test pits were dug in the corners of the squares, in a effort to discover the tavern foundation and trash pits. Because bedrock was reached a within a foot of the surface, the search for the Ordinary's foundations has proved elusive. The stone may easily have been salvaged, just as the chimneys were taken down and the brick reused. Trenching across the area located some large random rocks, possibly related to the foundation.
Broken pottery, glass and metal fragments from the 18th and 19th centuries were found scattered across the site. Artifacts tossed up from a groundhog burrow may even have revealed the Ordinary's cellar. As expected at a tavern site, the largest number of artifacts relate to meal preparation and consumption. Future archaeology will continue to help determine the Ordinary's footprint and the varieties of human activities at the site over time.