Day 8 was sunny, but a little chilly. It has been a mild South Carolina winter, and the arrival of the pollen tells me that is over. There was only a small amount of water in the units, and so removal this time was quick. I was assigned to Unit 5 again, and have been working in that unit since it was started. Professor White instructed us where to end the level and only to piece-plot larger artifacts. We had uncovered a large rock in Unit 5 on day 7, and it only continued to grow as we exposed it further. There are plow scars on the top of this rock, and we are unsure what it was for. We are carefully excavating around it, in case there are any artifacts near it.
The tarp follows the lines of the units to allow any rain water to settle naturally at the lowest point. The buckets prevent the tarps from moving while we are not at the site.
DuVal shows us how to work around the large rock while Elena removes loose soil.
Once we got to the floor of level 5, we started the next level. We were instructed to piece-plot everything, and continue slow excavation around the large rock. Professor White also noticed what could be a feature in the northern edge and wall, so we attempted to leave that undisturbed. If it turns out to be a feature, we will excavate it a different way than what we have been practicing. Piece-plotting with the goal of marking everything requires careful shovel work. After removing just a couple centimeters of soil, we had 39 artifacts flagged. These included the usual pottery fragments, rocks and flakes, but we also began to see burned clay.
A clean floor, but not for long. The light stripes are dry patches of soil.
The orange flags mark artifacts. Notice the increased size of the large rock.
The same rock from the other side of the unit. It is still firmly in the ground.
There were several items that we flagged that later turned out to be no bigger than a few millimeters. Only two of us were assigned to unit 5, and so the process of plotting was slow. One of us measured the northing, easting and elevation, while the second person recorded these measurements, placed artifacts in bags, and mapped the points on a grid. To map the large rock, we measured the corners of it, plotted those corners, and drew in the curves.
Once an artifact's provenience has been recorded, it is placed in a bag with the assigned number.
Elena measures artifacts for piece plotting.
Professor White examines unit 5 for signs of a feature.
Unit 3 had been left undisturbed until day 8. Our units are getting deep, and so Unit 3 is being cut to act as a stair for safer access. This unit also had a large stump that housed an anthill, and a couple of dung beetle larvae. I do not envy my classmates who are working on this unit, but I found the beetles to be an exciting addition to the fauna that are present at the site. I enjoy learning more about archaeology every week, but I also enjoy spending the day in nature and learning more about that as well.
End of day 8. Notice the different levels of the units, and the stair in unit 3.
The beautiful Broad River, a great place to spend the lunch break.