Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Full Day's Dig

The fun thing about last Saturday was getting to stick with one plot for the entire day.

Don't get me wrong! I've enjoyed our presentations, and I appreciate the importance of moving around to different tasks, so that everybody gets a solid amount of experience with all the different field techniques. Now that we've learned how to use the transit; locate artifacts with said transit and an accompanying measuring tape or stadia rod/plumb bob combo; locate artifacts using a GPS unit; plot boundaries; work with augers; dig test pits; screen for artifacts; and get a sense of what actually is an artifact (plus so much more)... it feels great to have "earned" the reward of focusing on one excavation pit for the entire day.

Ken, Christy and I worked on Control Unit 2 (CU2) last Saturday, May 14th, under the watchful and incredibly patient eye of David B. We inherited some artifacts from last week's Level One crew that we needed to sort and bag with anything else we discovered as we smoothed the pit down to the bottom of the first level.

Here's Christy making the sides of the excavation unit all nice & neat.

And here's Ken sifting!

This post has a LOT of photos, so I'm including a Jump Break here... 

I volunteered to log the artifacts found in Level One (6 - 16 cmbg) into the Excavation Plot Inventory Form, which I enjoyed most thoroughly. We decided to organize the artifacts into the following categories:


Bone & Shell



and Ceramic.

Here's a detail of the cutest, littlest, wee bitty phalanx, which 
I think may have been discovered by last week's crew.

Once we finished digging down to the bottom of Level One... presto-chango! It became the top of Level Two. We made it all official with the letter board, a (magnetic) north-facing directional marker, and a photo taken on the Official Site Camera by David B.

The View From Above.

Work proceeded at a steady pace before and after lunch. Digging, sifting, examining artifacts, sorting, logging. I was lucky in that nobody else was much interested in inventorying the artifacts as much as I was; as a consequence, I got to sit on my butt for a good part of the afternoon. Thanks, guys! ;)

The artifacts were much the same in Level Two as Level One, with a couple of exceptions:

A pretty purple transfer pattern on a tiny piece of ceramic!

We were pretty dismayed to find plastic down by the 26 cmbg mark. Bioturbation, anybody? We found a little plastic button too, but not so far down as the blue plastic ruler. These finds necessitated the addition of a "Miscellaneous" bag to the inventory log.

 So many different types of nails. And a worm!

 Okay, and my fave: look at the huge phalanx! I thought it was interesting that the dog lovers thought it was from a dog, and the cat lovers thought it was from a cat. Don't you think you'd want it to be the opposite? (KIDDING. I know that sometimes dog lovers can also love cats. ;)

 When we got to the bottom of Level Two... you guessed it! We suddenly found ourselves at the top of Level Three. We repeated the same marking and photographing protocol described above, and started in again. The ground right around 30 cmbg turned really hard, and Christy had to go at it with a pickax! But I already posted that photo. :)

The afternoon was winding down, so we collected the artifacts from Level Three into one bag, for next week's crew to inherit. I'm sorry to say that they aren't very interesting. Maybe next week's crew will have more luck further down!

I asked David how far down he thought we would be digging, and  he said we could go down to a meter... which seems so deep to me! I think it would be cool to be standing that far down in the earth, but I bet it gets harder to dig and haul the dirt out of there. David also said that if we go through a level or two that turn out to be sterile, the plot could be abandoned.

We tucked CU2 up into a nice cozy tarp for the week, which is good, since it's been raining. I'm really curious to see how all the plots have held out through the storms! 

See you next Saturday!



  1. Your post is great! I am enjoying being able to see what the other units are bringing out of the ground! I like how you separated it into pictures so we could see the different materials! Very cool!

  2. I can't believe you found so many nails! I agree with Kristen, it is so great to see what the other units have found since we each get caught up in whatever we are working on :)

  3. Awesome blog! Very detailed lots of glass I see haha.


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