Sunday, June 5, 2011
The last couple weeks in the lab have given me more appreciation for what archeology is all about. I loved being in the field because it was a new experience and balanced out my reading-intensive proseminar class. Last week's lab I opted to wash artifacts. The tools were simple: a plastic tub, strainer, toothbrush, screen, paper towels, a tray, and water. After filling the tub with water, one artifact bag at a time was washed with strainer and toothbrush. Once free of dirt, the artifacts were laid out to dry on the screen over paper towels and tray. The filled up screens were moved to a drying rack and the process repeats.
By 1200 my group (Vanessa, Sandra, and myself) had washed about three boxes of artifacts and took a lunch break. After lunch Vanessa and I continued washing until the labeling group inside The Cage ran out of labels (I think). The only unwashed artifacts remaining were inside a large paper bag from T-1. The rest of the DSCQHR artifacts were drying or being labeled.
Lab work, at least the washing part, is detail-oriented but not difficult. The crucial point is to keep artifacts with their respective bags, which are properly labeled with unit name, crew team member initials, date, and context (depth where they were found). To lose track of the artifact's bag would render the artifact practically useless in analysis. Since our artifacts will not be dated or otherwise examined by instruments, we were not being as meticulous as possible (ie. washing bone with water). As we saw during this week's lab, the artifacts need to be fairly clean for proper examination, comparison and photographs.