Archaeology Room

In 1989, students and teachers of the Learning Enrichment and Acceleration Program (LEAP) began a salvage archaeology excavation under the Old Stagecoach Stop. The Old Stagecoach Stop Foundation's Board of Directors wanted to remove dirt under the building to install some concrete block piers to add additional support to the structure. The crawl space under the building, except for a small cellar, was only a few inches high. LEAP was asked to excavate under the building. It seemed like a good community service project but no one initially thought much would be found. The excavation continued in the spring and fall of seven school years and hundreds of artifacts were retrieved.

The students's efforts made the news. For an overview of the archaeology project, watch the video (3:58 minutes) below.

Students and Archaeology

Instead of restoring another bedroom of the old hotel, the small room adjacent to the kitchen was chosen to display a selection of artifacts excavated from under the building. Cabinets house artifacts and overhead informational displays highlight the excavation, along with pictures and information about previous occupants.

One of the five screens that was used by students to sift through the dirt and debris also holds other necessary tools for the work: a trowel, calipers, plumb bob, and bucket for dirt.

Cabinets of artifacts are mounted on three of the walls of the Archaeology Room. Items span the years of occupancy, including Civil War bullets and buttons. Artifacts range in size from a granite pitcher to a tiny copper bead. At right are some of the marbles that were excavated, including a cloth marble bag. It survived because of the dry conditions under the building. Marble playing was a popular pastime for adults and children in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The marbles vary in size and composition. Most are early marbles made of clay. Below the marbles are seven slate pencils. They were used to write on slate boards. Also on display is a large collection of buttons that were found. The early ones were made from river mussel shells. Most of the artifacts have interesting histories of their own.

A portion of one wall displays part of the postcard collection of Amanda Black, who we met in the kitchen. Amanda did not travel far from Waynesville, partly due to the demands of running the hotel and probably partly due to her facial disfigurement. However, it seems she was curious about views of distant places and encouraged friends and hotel guests to send her postcards. The postmarks on the postcards are between 1908 and 1915. Most of the cards are addressed to Amanda but a few are addressed to Eliza or nephew James Bostick, who lived with them. Many of the cards in the collection are available for viewing in the "Vintage Image Gallery" elsewhere on this website.

The next stop on the tour is on the second floor. You will have to climb the outside stairs.