Thursday, May 19, 2011

Dig Day 6: May 14th

Last Saturday was our second day excavating units. By some chance of luck, I got to work in the 5x1 trench again! The Saturday before (5/7) we found a lot of possible artifacts, and I was excited to return to the same unit. It definitely is challenging to work with such a large space, but with so many hands, it went fairly smoothly. Amber led our crew- which consisted of Dani, Yanna, Melissa, Mark, Vanessa, David, and myself.

Our unit seemed to hold up pretty well from last week. Our tarp still covered the unit, and all the rocks/ logs were in place. Last week we had some difficulty mainting the unit’s wall integrity, but nothing too serious. A couple times some of the walls crumbled a little bit. When we removed the tarp, there was a little dirt that had crumbled down, but only in a few spots. There was no signs of disturbance from animals or insects that I saw. The soil was hard, slightly moist (which later turned a bit clay-like as we dug), and was filled with rocks.. Our unit measured 5m by 1m.

The first thing we did was catalogue our artifacts from last week’s excavation (level 1: 0-10cm.) We counted and described dozens of possible artifacts including fragments of bone, tile, ceramic, porcelain, charcoal, burnt rocks, glass, and a bead.

Afterwards Vanessa and I moved to the wet screening with another two crew members, while two more used a dry screen and the final two crew members dug. Last week we quickly noticed that the diggers were able to fill the buckets much quicker than the screeners could empty them. Still, it was challenging to keep up the pace. The water screen really helped speed up the process. It was very satisfying to see the clay-like dirt drip away so quickly. However, I definitely need to wear rain boots next week! Vanessa and I found in our screen pieces of concrete, porcelain, pottery, bone, glass, tile, brick, nails, and a bead. Most of our crew used a ¼ inch screen, but I think at one point some used an 1/8 inch screen.

After lunch, I moved over to dry screening and some digging. Our crew found several really interesting items in the 10-20cm level. Yanna uncovered a cement square block that had a mortise on two sides. Each side was 7-7 and ½ cm long. Our crew also found in the first part of the day an extremely large nail/ spike.

We also found the largest piece of tile I have seen yet. It was about 12.5 cm long, 2cm thick, and had a visible curve.

Later, Yanna also uncovered something interesting. Unsure of what it was (and mostly just because I wanted to use my paintbrush) we brushed away the dirt. It looked like a large piece of concrete. David suggested later that it might be part of a path to the well house. Later, we uncovered another large fragment of concrete.

I created a table describing the locations of these objects. I also *attempted* to draw a diagram marking these items’ locations. It is to scale, but I have never done this before, so I may have done some things incorrectly.






Nail/ Spike

A large rusted metal nail or spike, slightly bent

In 10-20cm level



Roof Tile

2cm thick, orange, slight curve


From 90– 99cm (artifact covers 9cm)

From 407- 419.5cm

Cement Block

2cm mortise on two sides, each side is 7- 7 ½ square

In 10- 20cm level



Piece of Concrete #1

Large, imbedded in a deeper level

In 10-20cm level

25.5- 41 cm

478- 498 cm

Piece of Concrete #2

Medium sized piece of concrete, completely in level 2 (10- 20cm)

15.5 cm

19- 32 cm

401- 412 cm

Here are some other smaller finds from the day: ceramic, porcelain, nails, brick, tiles, glass, and bone.

Mammal Vertebrae:


  1. Great photo essay, Elizabeth! It's great to see the progress of the trench from the when we started it on the 7th to what you guys were doing last week.

    I really liked the in situ photos of the tile and concrete. I've yet to use my brush, so I'm a little bit jealous. ;)

    I love the photo of the vertebrae! I have a gigantic vertebrae - possibly from a sea lion - that I found resting in a tide pool on a little beach in Gualala, but I think it would be even more exciting to dig one up.

    Our group at CU2 last week found a piece of molded glass, possibly a soda bottle, that has the letter "E" on it too. So alphebetically, our artifacts are like Scrabble: you're always get stuck with too many vowels!

    See you tomorrow! :)

  2. Scrabble tiles?!?! I love it :)

    Great post Elizabeth. The photos are amazing and it really shows the progress we have made on the trench. I think I was most excited about the vertebrae!

  3. Very nicely done Elizabeth. I commandeered one of your photos in order to make a point concerning tar macadam construction. I hope I owe not royalties.

    Your cataloging of the artifacts is immensely helpful. Again - well done.

  4. Wow Elizabeth, what an overachiever! Just kidding. But this is indeed an excellent photo-essay and pictures add fluff to an otherwise seemingly daunting and dry act of excavation.

  5. How did you end up doing that table you take it from Microsoft word and just copy and paste? Thanks for the glamour shot haha I'll be sure to show my fam. I really don't like the wet screens..I'd rather just screen dry.


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