Thursday, April 5, 2012

Front Loader at the Old Tabernacle

 These northern stones of the old tabernacle foundation
are all that remain in the ground.
 Burying the foundation is now in progress.
Soil removed for the archaeological dig
is being used to cover the stones.

Burying The Old Tabernacle's Foundation

Workmen were busy this week
cleaning up after the archaeological dig.
This orange paint marks the line to where the foundation will be removed.
The paint is barely visible in the center of this photo.
Once the stone is taken out,
the north portion of the foundation will be buried.
The LDS Church will give the stones to Provo City.

First Tabernacle in Provo

The tabernacle grounds in Provo are
being prepared for the new temple.
An older building was built before the newer tabernacle,
which was completed in 1898 but burned in 2010.
The remains of the older building lie
directly north of the tabernacle.
This photo looks east.
Construction on the older tabernacle began in 1856
and took 11 years to complete.
At that time the building was already too small.
It was torn down in 1919.
Ground-penetrating radar indicated where the foundation
of the old tabernacle was buried.
This picture was taken at the north side of the foundation.
The building, seen from the north in this photo,
had a basement which could be entered from either side.
The foundation walls can be seen here.
They were originally 12 feet high.
This space in front of the foundation wall
was reached by the stairwells seen in the photo above.
Of the two sets of stairs which led into the basement,
only the west steps remain.
The eastern stones were missing when
the archaeologists dug down.
The archaeologists believe this north section of the basement
was used to store coal to heat the building.
Traces of coal remained,
and the coal dust appeared to have filtered through
a wooden floor, which has completely deteriorated.
A closer look shows the gray color from the coal dust,
which left a layer of its own for the archaeologists to uncover.Rock from the foundation walls was removed
from the basement by the archaeologists.
The early pioneers quarried these large stones for the basement.
Two center stone walls helped support the building.
The wooden floor joists rested
on top of stone foundation walls rising from the basement.
There is no evidence that this portion
of the basement had a wooden floor of its own.
These round stones supported large wooden columns
which held up two balconies on the east and west sides of the building.
The archaeologists were all BYU archaeology majors,
graduate students, or interns.
There were no novices involved with the dig,
except for the opinions expressed by the onlookers.
Thousands of nails have been excavated,
including this one which was recovered while I watched.
Some of the nails were quite large.
Slate pencils were found in a lower level of the dig,
separated from more recent items
which were likely not associated with the use of the building.
These jewelry items were also found.
Among the recovered items was this 1892 silver dime.
The indentation in a brick is called a frog.
The fountain pen has an intact writing nib.
Several horseshoes were found.
And a bullet.
I could not identify this disc.
The archaeologist didn't know what it was, either.
I wondered if it was a canning lid,
but I could not find a match online.  Edit in March 2014:  a reader has identified this as an internal part of an oil lamp.
Some of the items in this photo involve electricity.
The basement had electric lights during its last 10 years of operation.
All of the dirt from the foundation has been sifted.
The dig closed at the end of March in preparation
for the groundbreaking of the temple.