Day 6 of field school was another sunny, warm day. Honestly, I feel we’ve been very lucky with the weather this semester. It had rained over the week, and so there was water in the units. Usually, this would be removed using buckets, but Professor White wanted to test out a scavenged electric sump pump to pump the water out. It was slow. It was a team effort to lift the tarps and pool the water for removal.
Professor White assembles his contraption.
Slow water removal. Quite a few spiders and insects came out to see us while we pumped water.
Measuring tapes are laid out on the sides of the unit so that northing and easting can be measured.
Once the water was removed and the tarps were set aside, we could begin working. I was assigned to Unit 5, and we continued work on our Level 4 (within Zone 2). Last time, we began piece-plotting, and had left 13 flagged artifacts to plot. However, it appeared that one of our flagged items was actually in Unit 6, and so it was excluded from our measurements. After cleaning up the unit then collecting and preparing paperwork, we began to measure each artifact’s provenience, or place in the unit. Every item is assigned a number, then the northing, easting and elevation below a pre-determined datum was measured and recorded. Once the artifact’s provenience has been recorded, it can be removed, observed, and placed in a bag with the assigned number. Most of these artifacts were pottery fragments, rocks or flakes. These locations are also plotted on a graph on the main paperwork for the unit and zone. These measurements give an idea of artifact concentration, assist with accurate mapping, and give a record for those who review our work in the future.
Shane shovels thin layers of soil from unit 5.
Artifacts are placed in bags with their assigned number, and measurements are recorded separately.
A pop up tent is used to shade the unit, so that any color changes in the soil can be seen more easily.
When the artifacts had been marked and removed, we began work to reveal more. This takes very careful shovel skimming work. The goal is to remove very small amounts of soil, and stop when you hear o feel anything against the shovel blade. The item is marked for later plotting. This can be time consuming, and takes some delicacy. Any dirt removed is screened and artifacts are bagged together. Unit 5 had plenty of artifacts to piece-plot, and still more were missed and found after screening the removed soil. This yielded pottery fragments, rocks, flakes and a point of some sort. We worked to plot another 12 artifacts, and then flagged 27 more before ending for the day. These should be waiting for us on Day 7 when we continue our field work on the Broad River.
Pottery fragments, flakes and rocks sifted from two buckets of unit 5 soil.
Point sifted from unit 5 soil.
End of the day's work. Orange tape indicates artifacts to be mapped.