Sorting through up to 500 square feet of mud and dirt was no easy task Wednesday for the volunteer archaeological team at Garfield Farm and Inn Museum in La Fox.
It was the seventh consecutive year and the 10th time since 2003 the site has been searched.
"It's important to do it right, because you only get one chance," says Jim Yingst, the director of archaeology on the project.
The small team finds everything from small bits of brick, parts of china that was used in the tavern and even a small part of a smoking pipe that was common to that era when the log home was used as a tavern.
The log home was eventually taken down and the field has been farmed the past 100 years.
Yingst says farming makes things a bit more difficult since the top layer of soil, where they usually find artifacts, has been tilled repeatedly.
The area is sectioned off and buckets of dirt are brought to sorting tables where it is carefully combed through.
Volunteers come from all over to help. Lydia Wilson and Margie Rader, both of Grayslake, say that they have been volunteering for four years.
The area that is being excavated used to be the site of a log structure that served as a house, then an inn and tavern, then storage for corn and other goods, and finally used as a barn for hogs.
Yingst says the hope is to one day recreate or rebuild the log home with information they get from the years of digging, combined with a romanticized watercolor painting from 1874, and some descriptive writings from the Garfields.
To find out more information on the living history farm visit garfieldfarm.org.