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Buildings r and s

The remains of Building s were well preserved. The southern and portions of the western foundation walls remained intact. Along the western wall, remnants of a Southern Yellow Pine sill log were uncovered, indicating that Jefferson's specification of chesnut logs was ignored by the builders. A considerable section of the quarter's earth floor remained intact. It was comprised of clay packed into a stone pavement that provided a level surface on the naturally sloping terrain. Cutting into the prepared clay was a 3.75 by 3.75 feet square sub-floor pit. Remnants of a wooden box lined this feature and the top edge was lined with dry laid bricks, brick bats and some stones. Finally, portions of a dry laid, stone chimney base, measuring 2.5 by 3.5 feet were uncovered along the southern foundation wall.

The only surviving architectural evidence for Building r is a cluster of cobbles and boulders that represents part of the chimney base. The conjectured location and plan of Building r on the archaeological plan above is based on the 1796 Mutual Assurance plat. They perfectly align with the cobble location.

Unlike Buildings s and t, Building r apparently lacked a sub-floor pit. Why? If, as we have conjectured, subfloor pits functioned as "safe-deposit boxes" to secure personal belongings, then the lack of a subfloor pit may indicate a lessened concern for security on the part of r's residents, perhaps because of access to door locks or locking furniture. Building r was unique in other ways as well. Preliminary quantitative analysis of the ceramic assemblages associated with the three structures revealed that Building r's residents broke fashionable ceramic tea wares and dinner plates at significantly greater rates. These differences might point to greater access to resources for r's residents. The limited data that are currently available do not permit strong claims on this topic, but they do indicate that the Reassessment will produce exciting new insights into the economic and social dynamics on Mulberry Row.


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