Sunday, May 22, 2011

matrix change: Keanu Reeves not included.....

Star Date -311615.4109271943 (21 May 2011)

No one was raptured from job site today. *Whew*

We broke ground 3 weeks ago (finally!) and most of the students seem pretty happy about jumping in and getting dirty. Everyone is being rotated amongst the units on a weekly basis, with the exception of the crew chiefs and assistants, giving everyone an opportunity to experience different excavation strategies and artifact finds. Two of the units in the southern portion of our excavation area (CU3 and Trench 1) have yielded materials associated with California prehistory, though with the amount of bioturbation in this area, stratigraphically placing these materials is impossible. For example, within minutes of T1's discovery of an unfinished obsidian projectile point (roughly the size of a thumbnail) I discovered an obsidian tertiary flake on the ground surface adjacent to CU3. Gophers might be fuzzy and 'cute', but they can really foul up an archaeologists job, not to mention a vegetable garden.

Last week was a good bead week: within almost 20 minutes of wet screening materials there were 3 recovered in the screens and one recovered in my unit (*that I am aware of). The two specimens from my unit are both white, one is glass but the other has a seed or shell like opaqueness. Unfortunately, I did not have my jewelers loop on hand to look at it more closely.

The excavation pace in CU4, the unit I have been assigned too, increased over the second half of day 3. After relinquishing paperwork duty to Jaime, and borrowing Dani from T1, Mark and I jumped in and blew through Level 3 in just over an hour. We couldn't have accomplished this without the screening efficiency Dani and Tung. Those two rocked the wet screens enabling Mark and I to dig like steam shovels. Periodic trips to the screens to dump dirt also allowed me to get my jeans soaked and dirty, which not only refreshed me on the hot day, but also aided in the sense of accomplishment. There is no such thing as a clean archaeologist. *note: If you see one, especially if they're wearing clean white clothes, approach with caution armed with a BS meter. Ergo, if you meet one who doesn't have a twisted sense of humor, run.

The next excavation day will be June 3rd. We plan to divide our unit in half, reducing the size from 2m x 1m to a 1m x 1m unit. We are also shifting our arbitrary levels from 10cm increments to 20 cm increments in order to increase efficiency and enable us to determine an accurate stratigraphic profile of our unit. After blowing through an asphalt slurry layer at 5-25 cm, we have encountered really thick pliable clay soil. While it is relatively easy to remove, its consistency makes screening difficult, though not impossible.

Looking forward to returning to the site in two weeks!


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