Nine days in and things are only getting more interesting. Units 5, 6, and 7 are progressing further downward and we're piece-plotting so much so that we ran out of nails and flagging tape at one point. I was once again reassigned but this time to do some supplementary work crafting a step out of the eastern half of Unit 3, a previously untouched 2 x 2 unit in the northwest corner of the overall 4 x 4. That sounds like a lot but if you’ve seen the pictures of the site scattered throughout this blog its easy to understand.
In any case, DuVal and I set about bringing Unit 3 down another level. Unfortunately the dirt was so loose it was mostly sand at this depth and the eastern wall threatened to collapse with a dangerous fracture. After delicate removal of the fractured part we discussed what should be done next to salvage the step. DuVal set about cutting some plywood planks to shore up the walls of the unit and I made myself useful where I could. As no more digging was to occur in Unit 3 for the time being it freed up a screen to use for some buckets of dirt from Unit 6. It was at this point after screening that I realized I had done something in every unit at the site. Not totally important and not necessarily a goal of mine but a curious and happy coincidence nonetheless.
There were a couple more instances where a small portion of the wall between units 6 and 5 crumbled a bit without anyone even around to touch it. Side note: these wall collapses earned their own provenience bags for whatever artifact may be found in the loose dirt that came free. There was a surprising amount in each bag filled which is an encouraging sight as Unit 5 had further to come down and there had to be a wealth of information just sitting there if countless flakes and stones came out of a couple centimeters of crumbled wall.
Next week the people funding parts of this project will be visiting and Dr. White will have to do some entertaining while we set about on our usual routines. Of course I have no idea what I’ll be doing this week but whatever it is I’m sure I’ll learn something and that’s really why I signed up for the class in the first place.
The recent levels of climate fluctuation have really been affecting morale, or at least my morning attitude anyway. Every morning I wake up hoping it will be in the 60’s or 70’s, but the temperature always manages to be really low on Fridays—I dragged myself outside and instantly froze because it was 28 degrees outside. We got on site at 8:40, walked upstairs to remove the tarp off of our block, and there was ice covering almost the entirety of the floor. I looked around, everybody was staring, and deciding how to proceed while there were a couple of shocked grins that stood motionless in the face of ice. Eventually we got into gear, removed the sheets of tarp, shook the ice off, and by 9:10 the two Sams and I were finishing piece-plotting level 5 of Unit 5 with only 14 artifacts to document.
Once the sun graced us and the temperature began to rise, everybody was back in business, cracking jokes, and continuing to get through our designated levels.
A while back in level 4 in Unit 5, around 65 cmbd (centimeters below datum), Samantha and I noticed slight mottling throughout our unit. One comparatively large mottle struck us as out of the ordinary due to its size and roundness, so we kept an eye on it. Continuing into level 6, we noticed the same mottle continued to reveal itself, now 75 cmbd. Because it is so perfectly round, and has shown to be at least 10 centimeters deep, Dr. White decided that it could be a potential feature. We documented it as Feature 8, placed two spikes indicating the middle of the circle, leveled it to make sure the line was accurate, and started to bisect the feature. Upon further inspection, we realized that the depth of the feature continued to go down past 100 cmbd. We concluded that this 12 centimeter wide circle was in fact evidence of a historic-period post that could potentially be quite deep.
Because the feature excavation was getting to a point where we realized how far down it could actually go, we had to quit where we were because it could potentially be in our unit for a long way down. By the time we had finished our paperwork for Feature 8 it was 2:30, and it was time to clean everything up.
Coincidentally, Dr. White decided to bring his daughter to work that day so she could get a feel for real life archaeology, even though she is not really interested in pursing archaeology by any means. However, having her around, asking questions, and showing her the ins and outs of what we do on a daily basis really helped to piece together information that was previously slipping right past me.