Thursday, September 24, 2009

Field Trip - Digging Archaeology

Come with me! We're going to dig in the dirt.

This is a continuing projecct and this year's focus is on locating the well that was in front of the log tavern.

The archaeologist has already determined and marked off the areas where we'll be digging. Sod is carefully removed and the pit is divided into two halves. Each are dug separately and processed separately on the screening tables.

Jim and Helen processes material.

The soil is deposited on the solid end of the table. See that block of wood? I used it like a rolling pin pushing dough. Instead of rolling I would apply forward pressure, breaking up the large clods.

The soil is moved to the screen side of the table where the finer material falls to the ground, leaving small pebbles and artifacts.

Graduate archaeology student Bill was able to participate in this dig. He has tons of field experience so his help is invaluable. Translation - He knows what he's doing and moves the work along smoothly.

Bill is in the pit troweling, shaving small layers of dirt, revealing small artifacts.

This is a beautiful scene. Bill is processing the soil in the old farm lane with a vintage tractor in the background.

Bill and Jim identify a small ceramic piece as having been the delicate foot on a teacup.

At the end of the day, everyone gathers around to discuss what we've found and process the last bucket.

We processed about five times this much dirt.

This seems to be a young person's endeavor, meaning it's hard physical work that's 90% sweat, 9% anticipation and 1% eureka.

Each of the four processing tables contained a small plastic container in which we placed artifacts. This is one of the four and is representative of what we found.

This seems like a ridiculously small amount of material, but we are at the edge of the site and this area has been plowed many times.

It is an interesting process and actually much more complicated than I've been able to explain here. Jim and Bill seriously know what they're doing and were very patient with all my questions. I worked will Bill and warned him that I'd bombard him regularly. I'm curious as to the order we're working in and what their goals are.

This dig continues until October 9th (or later if the weather doesn't cooperate). If you are in the area and are interested in helping out, e-mail me and I'll give you the information.

Thanks for coming along on the dig!

P.S. I showed myself to be a stinking newbie when I showed up with NO water and NO gloves!


Lisa D. said...

Very interesting! And since when are newbies a bad thing? It means new people are interested in the field, and new perspectives and ideas - always a good thing!

BellaDella said...

I've always wanted to do something like this. I wish I lived closer. Please keep sharing these awesome adventures of yours.

Steph said...

When I was young, we went out west to Utah, I think, and we visited a place where they were digging up dinosaur bones. I thought that was pretty interesting!

ArtPropelled said...

I enjoyed that, thanks for sharing.

Farmchick said...

I was reading about your adventures today at work. It all sounds very interesting to me! Thanks for taking the time to photograph it all to share with us.

Karen Deborah said...

maybe so but you showed up.

StitchinByTheLake said...

I love Karen's comment - 90% of any battle is showing up. Very interesting! blessings, marlene

CrankyProfessor said...

That is a beautiful picture of Bill in the lane!

Such fun it looks like, from the 2 posts!