Monday, August 16, 2010

Treasures of spectacle island

Spectacle island has an incredibly interesting history.
Abridged history:
17th century - source of firewood and a smallpox quarantine
18th century - the island housed farmsteads and picnickers
19th century - Two hotels were built in 1847, only to be closed by police ten years later when it was discovered they were used for gambling and other illicit activities. A horse rendering plant was built in 1857 followed by a city trash incinerator.
20th century - "the trash incinerator remained active until 1935. When the incinerator closed, trash was simply dumped on the island for the next thirty years, until a bulldozer was suddenly swallowed up by the trash in 1959. The island remained a smelly, leaking dump until the 1990. When the Big Dig began work in Boston in 1992, some of the excavated dirt and clay was used to resurface the island. The island was covered and built up by dirt, capped with two feet of clay, and covered with two to five feet of topsoil. Thousands of trees were planted, and paths, buildings, and a dock were built. The island opened to the public in June, 2006, for use as a recreational area with hiking trails, a beach, and a marina with boat slips for visitors"

(history provided by wikipedia)

Bruce supplemented this history with some other details such as the cache of methane gas in the island which is why they don't allow camping there in fear that someone will make a camp fire and set one of those methane deposits aflame which could burn for a long time (years possibly).

First site:
The first area that my group and I chose to examine was on one of the higher wrack lines. The first we did was separate the things we found into natural and man-made. Then from the natural things we separated the periwinkle shells, lady slippers, mussel shells, moon shell snails, random shells, sea weed, crab parts, and feathers. The man-made stuff was seperated into glass, simple ceramic, and ceramic with patterns. We started discussing what bruce was talking about when he said the large nuts rise to the top. I think it was ted who first suggested we start digging. We dug about 8-12 inches down but did not find many specimens different than the types we found on the surface.

a bunch of sea glass

periwinkle shells

lady slippers

mussel shells

ceramics with patterns

Second site:
The second sit we chose was right at the waters edge where the tide was coming in. We did not find any man made things there, only natural. We had to gather and record our observations quickly as the water was actively coming in. We found a small collecting of lady slippers clung to rocks, etc. We also found some razor back clam shells, several small crabs, one large oyster shell, moon snail shells, a large rock with a colony of barnacles, and one sea anemone.

live lady slippers

Rock covered with barnacles

razor back clams

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