Sunday, May 1, 2011

I left my funny title for this post in my test pit...

hopefully I didn't contaminate it.

Notes and bad jokes from 4-30-11.

Today began with a brief history (of time) lesson from David. David's history background provides insight into the kinds of artifacts we might hope to find as we move further along the excavation process. Professor Hartley was quick to point out that the historical side of archaeology needs to work hand in hand with the more physical side of artifact collection. Finding the right balance between data analysis and historical accounts of a location is an important part of the interpretive process. (As a side note David, I really enjoy your posts, please keep them coming)

After the introductory part of the day was over we broke up into teams to continue with test pitting and auger cores. I found myself in Professor Hartley's group going around and photographing the surface artifacts and logging and collecting them, except the turkey poop, we decided to leave that one in situ.
The early morning photog. team consisted of Christy, Ken, Charles and myself. We would clear the area around each artifact so as not to block the field of view, then we set up the tripod. You place an arrow with a scale on it next to the artifact and point it north so you can tell which way you're looking in the picture. Make sure you set a timer on the shutter of the camera so your unsteady hands don't shake the camera and ruin the picture. We had the aperture of the camera set to F8 to let in the most light and get the clearest pictures of the artifacts as possible, as some of them were rather small.

I enjoyed the photography work, but I really wanted to get my hands dirty after last week. No worries, I would get my chance, but first, LUNCH! For lunch, I had a delicious egg salad sandwich made from easter eggs which gave my sandwich a nice unnatural blue color. Kind of disquieting at first, but delicious in the end.

After lunch we spent the next hour or so with Phoebe, a colleague friend of Professor Sonny. Phoebe was nice enough to come out to the site and haul herself up that hill to give us a lecture on Paleo-ethno-archeo-botany. Points of interest during the lecture were the differences between Micro and Macro samples, collection techniques and research questions, or why the heck would you want to study pollen and phytoliths in the first place? As the afternoon and the lecture advanced, our shady refuge on the top of the hill was dwindling so we thanked Phoebe for her time and carried on with our test pitting. After shuffling the groups around, I found myself digging a test pit at the top of the hill in the blazing sun.

OK so after all that fun I was having last week with the auger cores, and the fun morning I spent with the camera. I just wasn't feeling it with the test pit. I don't know if it was my blue sandwich or the sun, but my energy reserves were dangerously close to empty. I trudged on though in the name of SCIENCE! (My apologies to Christy, I know I sounded really grumpy there a few times) The test pit crew was Kristy and myself, with Tung running the show up at the top of the hill. Our pit was a little bigger than 30cm, and I went a little deeper than 10cm on our first attempt at breaking ground. We ended up screening dirt after 15cm, and again at 30cm. You would ideally want to screen every 10cm however in the interest of time we fudged the numbers a bit. We found lots of interesting artifacts though. Some brick, ceramic, tile, and a peculiar piece of what looked like plastic I wish I took a picture of. We logged our findings and as it was 4:30 and we were all sunburnt and tired, it was time to call it a day. I look forward to next week and the prospect of opening up excavation units.

1 comment:

  1. What I love about these posts, especially yours Andrew is that for the most part if you weren't in my group I had no idea what you were doing. Though I am glad I missed the grumpy part of the day I will agree it was a warm and pollinated kind of day, allergies blow (no pun intended) and digging a hole later in the afternoon after eating a blue sandwich would probably make anyone on the grumpy side of life :)


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