Here we are at Day 12 with only two more days left to work on the site. Because the last day will be backfill day, in which we fill in our holes to protect the site until Dr. White returns at a later date, and next week we will be mapping the walls in our units, however far we make it today will be where we stop.
I left last week still working down through level 8 in Unit 4 to 100 cm below datum (cmbd). We've been working through level 8 for a good bit now, but are finally just about to our 100 cmbd goal. We have continued to piece-plot everything that we find, and are using only trowels because there are just so many artifacts in the level. Mostly all of what we have found are flakes of green rock, and a few that are quartz. We have about five larger rocks in the floor of our unit that are resting on a level below 100 cmbd, so they will remain there until a later date
Once we had finally finished our piece-plots and reached our 100 cmbd goal, Dr. White came and took a look. He noticed that around the larger rocks, the soil was darker, and there was a good bit of charcoal present. He thinks that it is very possible that we are coming down on a feature. After we had closed out level 8, Nate and I began the task of putting all of our piece-plots on the grid we have on our forms for each level. After completing that, Dr. White had us begin a floor map that would map the areas on the floor that he had marked, as well as where our larger rocks, and a few flagged artifacts were marked.
The floor map with Unit 4 on top and one of our grids with piece plots.
Because we will be laying down what I believe is weed barrier to protect the floor of the unit and then filling in the block with backdirt, this floor map will help to show where we left off when Dr. White comes back later to continue the excavation. We are filling in the units to protect them from weathering and anything else that might effect them as it could be awhile before Dr. White gets back to them. The best way to do this is to put all the dirt back, and everything below will remain untouched. The first day of maybe another field school, or future archaeologists who come to work on the site later will be to take out all the backdirt down to the weed barrier where we are now.
Unit 6 (to the south of Unit 4) also finished off with level 8 today and are also at 100 cmbd. Their floor can be seen on the bottom half of the map. It looks like they are also coming down on a feature. This is where we ended the day, and is as far down as we will make it for our field school. Next week we will draw the walls of our units in profile before filling in the backdirt on the last day.
The days leading up to field school had been very stormy, and so I was expecting to find a great deal of water and debris in the units and at the site. However, it seems the location was spared, and there was very little water to be removed.
Field school is almost over, and this was to be our last day of excavation in our units. I was back in Unit 5 for the day, and we were instructed to end our level 6 at 80 centimeters below datum (cmbd), and piece-plot anything that would be removed at that depth but leave deeper items in the floor (any item firmly in the ground is lower than 80 cmbd, and therefore in the next level). Due to the meticulous piece-plotting in our unit, we had been working on level 6 since field day 8, and we were 10 centimeters short of the original goal of 90 cmbd.
There has been a great deal of material coming out of Unit 5, and the large rock is still firmly in the ground. Another large rock has shown up next to it, and much to my disappointment, it will be up to a new group of students to finish the excavation. Both rocks are firmly in the ground, and so belong to a deeper level than the one we have been working on. We were able to bring the floor to 80 cmbd by the end of the day, and so left the cleanup and photo taking for our next field day.
The large rocks, Sharpie shown for size.
Day 12 also seemed to be a day of collapse. The downstairs profile wall had caved in while we were gone. Jim thinks that the wall got too dry and that is what caused it. This makes some sense, as our 12 days of field school have been spread over three months. The stair that was created in Unit 3 continued to dry out and crumble along the edge of our unit. Unit 5 lost a bit of dirt to a collapse along the edge with Unit 6, the floor of which is 20 cm lower. This dirt was carefully removed and screened for any cultural material that may have been within it. All items found were given their own field specimen (FS) number.
The wall collapse.
We will draw the walls of our units and fill them in over our last two days, and then field school will be over. It has been a fantastic learning experience, and I’m grateful to have had the opportunity. It has also been a lot of fun, and I’ll miss school days in the field.