Saturday, September 26, 2009

Digging On

The dig continues. We seem to have informally broken up into teams. No one said, "You partner with this person," it just happened. I'm working with graduate student Bill.

I cannot overestimate his skill and knowledge. He's been going on digs for over 7 years.

After removing a layer of dirt with a shovel, Bill starts troweling the excavation. His tools look like something you'd find in the garage, perhaps to spread drywall compound. His trowels are sharp and he makes this process look deceptively simple.

He gave me a trowel and I went to work. It's actually difficult to get the technique down. I can only compare it with shaving a hugh block of chocolate. Thin layers are shaved off, possibly revealing artifacts buried in the soil.

What troweling also reveals are features. They are the footprints of structures or other things that would have disturbed the soil. Here's a picture of our excavation showing the beautiful trowel work that makes the walls and floors appear to be polished surfaces.

Here's the plow zone layer, the undisturbed soil underneath and the feature. Most likely this was a fence post, based on the shape.

Helen works the screen.

It's a beautiful setting to work in. This place is very quiet, in fact you can hear birds or small animals moving through the brush. Very few vehicles travel the gravel road. The beautiful historic barns are nearby.

Stripping off more sod to start the next hole.

The digging continues. The work should become easier as we work towards the site of the tavern. This soil is heavily compacted from the oxen and farm machinery.

Thanks for coming along on the dig!


Kitty said...

Wow--what an interesting adventure! I had dreams of archeology when I was young and see that the opportunities are still out there for the "middle-aged" crowd. I'm glad you get to be a part of it. Hope you find something exciting!

horse loving lineman's wife said...

Wow, very interesting!

Liz in PA said...

Suzanne you are a great teacher, worker, and a very observant photographer.
Thank you for this fascinating journey as you help excavate this site!
I am enjoying each posting on your Blog almost as if I am there in your pocket!!

Farmchick said...

Keep these posts coming. I can't to see you guys find a few items.

Leslie T. said...

What a great adventure! I'm fascinated!

Ivy Lane said...

very interesting! I have always wanted to do a "dig"...can't wait to see what you all find!!! :)

The Southern Housewife said...

Looks like SO much fun! I always wanted to be an archaeologist. :)

Thirkellgirl said...

Your posts have made me realize that I like the final product of archaeology, but would kill myself if I had to work at that level of detail. :)

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