Saturday, May 14, 2011

Day 5 On-Site

This week was awesome. I had a gung ho team and we worked hard all day--augur in the morning, excavation unit in the afternoon. We got a lot done and had fun doing it. Thanks to Tung for showing Vanessa, Sandra and I how to augur down near the site datum. Vanessa documented dirt samples with the Munsell guide, while Sandra worked the augur and I screened the dirt. At 20cm below, we switched duties but quickly found that the augur wouldn't dig. After spending the rest of the morning inventing new ways to augur and sweating it out, we had only dug 1cm deeper (total of 21cm, rather than 60cm as originally planned). I wish we had a photo! Professor Hartley brought out the steel probe and corer in a last attempt to find something near the augur pit, but no luck. The corer was already bent so we didn't try using it. The steel probe got into the earth with Andrew's help, but Brenna concluded that there wasn't much to be found here. Professor Hartley agreed, so we opened our excavation unit uphill with the rest of the class.

Thanks to crew chief Brenna for teaching Sandra and I how to start an excavation unit (CU4) and keeping us to the scientific methods of archeology. After measuring and staking the 1 x 2 meter unit with pink string, and using the Pythagoream Theorem to ensure 90 degree angles, the team began the real physical work of leveling the unit. Since the unit is on a slight slope, the higher dirt needs to be scraped, removed, and screened. The dried earth added challenges and extra steps, which will likely be compounded as the weeks go on. Around 1600 a 3 x 6cm light orange pottery sherd (not unlike the artifacts shown during Dr. Mendoza's lecture) was discovered in the southwest corner of our unit. Using a plumbob, line level, and tape measure we plotted the artifact, then bagged it.

It would be a good experience to rotate to different units, but there is also experience to be had in staying with the same unit for the entire process. I would like to work in the same unit from start to finish. Of course it is up to the Prof, but for the sake of discussion... What do you guys think?


  1. I agree with you Christy, I too would like to stay at the same unit for the remainder of the course. I believe that "owning" a control unit would be helpful in analysing the artifacts and creating a hypothesis for the unit.

  2. That's my reason too, I think it would be hard to hypothesize without seeing unit unfold. Staying at the same unit would be especially important if we were all archeology majors or professional archeologists. But I guess the point of rotating units is for us noobies to experience a wide range of archeological field work under different crew chiefs.


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