Lifecycle of the West Room (Student Project)
Founded in 1767 by Abraham Stouffer, the Stouffer Farm has seen various building layouts and land usages throughout its history. There is a substantial amount of period evidence that a mill was established in the property in about 1857, but excavation teams have yet to located the site of this mill or to determine if there were other (no-longer-standing) buildings on the property associated with the mill. Such excavation has not been overly fruitful, but Dr. Pettegrew and his students remain hopeful. Of the standing structures, arguably the most fascinating is the outbuilding standing at the edge of the forest. This little building is located on the west the side of the property and contains two rooms, built at different times (the West Room and the East Room). The various uses of this building throughout its existence and the construction years of its multiple phases remain unproven, but excavators continue to search for the truth.
The older of the two rooms, the West Room, is where the majority of survey and excavation inside the outbuilding has taken place. The general consensus, based on current evidence, is that the West Room may have been used for smiting, but a good bit of waste and discard was also found in the room, so there was likely also a trash pit in the floor at some point. Neither of these theories have been conclusively proven, but evidence exists for both. There is also evidence of habitation in the form of the pottery found within Unit 6.
The lifecycle of this outbuilding began with the construction of the West Room, which was likely in the early to mid 1800s (possibly late 1700s). In its earlier phases, this room likely served as a small blacksmith shop, a conclusion which is supported by the multi-phased furnace and the deposit of charcoal, clinker, nails, and other metal in the clay pit in front of the furnace. This could also support the burning of waste, because discard and waste were found in both units. The West Room, in its later phases, became a dumping ground for refuse. There is also evidence of possible habitation in the deposit of pottery, which also acts as an important tool for dating this half of the structure. This building could have lived one of many possible lives and the potential for discovery has not yet been reached at this excavation site. We’ve merely scratched the surface of understanding.