Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Surface Artifacts

Last Saturday's class (23 April) was the most engaging yet! While I enjoyed many aspects of it, my favorite part was documenting some of the surface artifacts we found. Even though I'm still a bit wobbly when it comes to reading the Transit, I love having the artifacts we found all logged and described and labeled and photographed. Mmmm, data.

We logged seven artifacts before breaking up into groups; it might be that there were a few past the seven I participated in. (Can someone let me know?) I'd already photographed all but the last one when I heard Sandy say, "Oops, I haven't been using anything to show scale." D'oh! I borrowed a quarter from Christy, re-photographed the seven artifacts, et voila! Posting them here, for fun. (I know I'm not the only one who took photos of all the surface artifacts... I hope nobody feels like I'm stepping on toes! :)

Artifact 01 : Burnt clay w/thumbprint, or just an oddly shaped rock? Hmmm.

Artifact 02 : Piece of thin, weathered green glass.

Artifact 03 : Flat, thin sedimentary stone (caliche?)

Artifact 04 : Chunk of thick, glazed, white ceramic.

Artifact 05 : Burnt ground, possibly charcoal, in situ.

Artifact 06 : Three pieces of dried wood.

Artifact 07 : Non-human long bone.

I've really been appreciating the sense of teamwork that our group brings to the site on Saturdays. Everyone helps everyone else, whether that looks like giving tips on how to read the stadia rod, or shouting out the artifact coordinates for the fifteenth time. I've also really been appreciating the mix of graduate and undergraduate students. As an undergrad, I'm seriously grateful for the experience and knowledge that those more experienced students amongst us share with the group. It's both inspiring and humbling to realize how much there is to learn!


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Hello Maria, and other DSQHR Excavationists:

    Very nice series of posts since Saturday and there appear to be some mysteries to ponder with respect to the assemblage now developing for the site.

    Kristen noted a possible ID for one ceramic artifact. We encounter a fair number of broken sherds as well.

    My comment is directed toward these broken sherds: is it the team's consensus that the ceramic vessels were broken prior to deposit or is the view otherwise, i.e., that the breaking of the vessels is post-depositional?

    Depending on the consensus view, what possible hypotheses may be developed to explain the type of artifact assemblage and scatter that one finds at the DSQHR site?

    Here is a link to a technical brief that touches on some of these issues:


    Again - well done Maria and Team DSQHR.

  3. Maria, we plotted 8 more artifacts by transit (15 total). Your pics came out great! It helps to have reference to a known object. I think Sandra photographed the rest of the artifacts with a penny for scale.

  4. Maria, I agree wholeheartedly about how awesome it is to have people with experience with these kinds of artifacts on site (Looking at you Brenna!) to help us differentiate between rocks and cool stuff.

  5. With respect to artifact number 4: This is such an ubiquitous artifact that stating something difinitive with respect to origin might seem a doomed enterprise; however, in an attempt to keep the discussion moving forward, I have made an attempt to suggest a classification for this whiteware based on the digital ceramic type index of the Florida Museum of Natural History's Historical Archaeology site.

    Production Origin: ENGLAND
    Production Date Range: 1830-present
    Defining Attributes: White to off white colored, thin, hard, compact paste

    Clear lead glaze, background is pure, paper white

    Glaze in clear to light grey where is pools, may also be slightly bluish

    Blue tints may also added to the glaze, to achieve a similar appearance to pearlwares

    Vessel Forms:
    Published Definitions: South 1977, Miller 1991

    http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/histarch/gallery_types/type_index_display.asp?type_name=WHITEWARE, PLAIN

  6. Wow,
    I am very sorry I was absent for class last weekend! (I guess I'll be coming to the extra workday) But your pictures are very detailed and I appreciate it! I assume the quarter are placed next to the artifacts int he pictures to reference a general size of the artifact. Great idea!
    Also, documenting what we found and in what quantities is a great idea. My family is following this blog (namely my Dad and sister) so the more accurate our collection and data, the better I feel about this course! We're real archaeologists now, Pinocchio!


Feel free to comment on what you see & read here!