Monday, May 2, 2011

Day 4 On-Site

This week it seems the class is fully engaged in archeology and working well as a unit. Jokes and caffeine get us through the long days, but our minds are on the job. Teamwork seems to come naturally now, or at least the willingness to share scarce resources like plastic bags, shovels and screens. The class is working faster and more efficiently each week. I enjoyed finally getting in the dirt but also appreciate having strong guys on my team. I know the allergies were killer for a lot of folks so I will be bringing extra bacterial masks (AKA ninja or SARs masks) next week.

During morning brief the class was introduced to alarmingly gusty winds, which thankfully did not worsen throughout the day. In fact, once the sun began beating down after lunch, the wind was a blessing. Professor Sonny returned our field notebooks with comments on how to improve them, reminding us to add more narratives in both notebook and blog. The class seems to have a solid understanding of what field notebooks are all about now. Ironically there was much less time to write or sketch today, as we were all busy with manual labor.

David gave us thought-provoking info on the history of the site: in the 1800's the surrounding area were wineries, the plot directly uphill from our site was burnt down, and that area became a picnic park (please correct me if I'm wrong). The hypotheses are that some of our artifacts originate from that uphill plot and were washed down by rains, and that the historical records of this area may reflect only the viewpoint of the missions. Professor noted that from his own experience written histories and archeology are somewhat speculative (ie. The Bible, Chinese history)--often, the historical record reflects only a certain segment of society (ie. the upper class). Archeological finds can reveal the lives of commoners (ie. the lives of slaves in pre-Civil War U.S.) that would otherwise be unknown and ignored by historical record.

I appreciate the discussions that tie our site work into history and hypotheses, as that is close to the cultural anthropology I'm familiar with. Thanks to David and Mark for bringing in books. Archeology is really a world apart from cultural anthropology.

1 comment:

  1. Beautifully written post Christy, really. I stumbled upon it earlier but didn't have the chance to comment. When I read the beginning I knew exactly what day you were talking about, before I checked the date =).


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