It is hard to believe that this is the end to another successful field school! Last week, we began backfilling Units 4,5, 6, and 7. I had no idea how much work was involved with backfilling. Thankfully, the weather has been relatively warm and not too humid, otherwise it would have made the process more challenging.
Backfilling entails placing all the dirt which was excavated back into the ground. Since everything was recorded and screened during excavation, the walls were lined with plywood and landscape fabric (paper which lets water pass through) before throwing the dirt back into the block. We had to strategically plan which piles of dirt would be used first, since the rain during the week would make the sand very compact. I walked around the inside of the unit to make sure that the sandy dirt was being evenly redistributed around the edges and the center. At first when we started, it seemed as if the task would be impossible to complete. Every time dirt was placed inside of the unit, it appeared to never get any higher! Once we added in wheel barrows adding dirt inside of the unit became a lot easier than before!
Since it was the last day, we decided to have a cookout! Everybody was responsible for bringing an item. Kate went to Goodwill and bought a George Foreman grill to make hamburgers and grilled zucchini. We also had grapes, tomatoes, lettuce, pulled pork, and chips! The students of the Broad River Archaeology Field School did well organizing our last day.
Although the main part of field school is focused on learning archaeology, another important aspect is making connections and getting to know your professors and peers. I enjoy archaeology and attending field schools because of being able to meet new people while learning new techniques and information that I may not have known before. I learned how to set up a unit using an arbitrary north instead of magnetic north and learned how to piece plot artifacts in situ inside the unit. You never know when you may meet your cohort again, whether it be at a conference, a field school, or possibly co-directing research projects together! Anthropology and Archaeology are team-oriented fields where the project would not be successful without group participation.