At the beginning of Day 11 we arrived at the site an hour later than usual at around 9:35 because of the morning thunderstorm that didn’t clear up until 9:00 in the morning. After we finished removing water and the tarps from the units we began piece-plotting.
I was working in Unit 5. While the group as a whole has been piece-plotting for a few weeks now, this was my first day working on piece-plotting for the entire duration of the time at the site. Unit 5 was on level 6 and was aiming for 90 cmbd (centimeters below datum). When we opened the unit this week we were at an average of about 76 cmbd we managed to get down to an average of around 78 cmbd by the end of the day.
Piece-plotting tends to be slow work as it involves troweling the bottom of the unit gently and marking anything that you find with a piece of flagging tape. Once the floor of the unit is more or less even and you have marked everything that you found then it’s time to go back through the unit and measure the northing, easting, and the depth of all of the artifacts marked with the tape. The measurements are taken with the help of folding rulers set up along the edges of the unit and with a laser level to take the depth. Each artifact once measured is given its own bag marked with an FS number specific to the artifact and then put into the larger unit and level bag.
As the field school is rapidly drawing to a close, it was decided that Unit 5 would not be able to reach 90 cmbd before class ended and would therefore aim for 80 cmbd to level off at and close the level. Units 4 and 6, the other units above the profile, are at level 8 and are closing their units off at 100 cmbd.
Dr. White spent a portion of the days’ time clearing the space around a large rock in Unit 5 in order to see if it could be removed in the time that the field school has left. After removing several centimeters around the rock he concluded that it almost certainly could not be removed without digging deeper than the level of the unit and giving an uncertain provenience. The rock will have to be removed at another time with another field school.
Meanwhile, the unit below the "downstairs" profile, once Unit 7 and now Unit 10 due to unexpected flooding, collapsed again after the rain of the week since the sand below the profile is incredibly soft and doesn’t hold together. This time Dr. White has decided that reopening the unit in order to get a proper profile was probably going to be impossible at that it should therefore be backfilled and reopened at some point in the future when a week doesn’t elapse between days at the dig site.