Day ten at the site was an unusual one for us. While we’ve been fortunate to be working in such a mild climate, it is now late March and South Carolina is in full blown Spring. We arrived at the site at our usual time but work begins much more quickly now as everyone knows what to do. We didn’t waste much time with the morning breakdown as our team was missing four people and we had the Archaeological Research Trust (ART) and other guests coming out to see what we’ve been working on.
I’ve worked exclusively in the same unit for the length of the field school and although I was out the week before it didn’t take long to look over the paperwork and figure what we had been up to. Unit 6 initially moved quickly through each level since we went through the plow zones and we’ve kept pace with the unit directly north of us for most of the school. However, in recent weeks we’ve all noticed an increase in the number of artifacts unearthed and we’ve had to slow down to record their provenience more precisely. The previous week Unit 6 had reached depth at the bottom of level 8 but the piece plotting of individual artifacts is a lengthy process.
Tiffany and I worked most of the morning piece-plotting and all seemed routine "upstairs" until the guests to the site started to arrive. After months working with the same crew of just 13, having 25 extra people around was definitely interesting and more than a little distracting. Most of the morning they were "downstairs" with Dr. White as he explained in detail what we have been doing, what we have uncovered, and what he has been interpreting from our finds. With such consistently cooperative weather we haven’t actually had much downtime as a team to sit around a discuss our findings so I was curious to hear what he had to say and found myself splitting my attention between the unit and the presentation. Eventually they came "upstairs" and he spoke on the progress of our units and answered a few questions and though they were now in earshot, the active curiosity of a few of the guests ultimately left us passing them each artifact after we bagged it. A few of the people seemed to have archaeological knowledge and I was interested to hear what they had to say about our findings.
We had a late lunch and then worked awhile longer before cleaning up. With so much going on it felt like the day flew by, but honestly at the end of it we hadn’t progressed very much at all. We didn’t even finish the piece-plotting of our level. However we have been anticipating the ART visit since the beginning of the semester and successfully hosting them felt like a different sort of accomplishment.