Our last day of excavation has unfortunately come to a close, and we have backfill day to look forward to next time. However, the fact that we were wrapping up does not mean that this week's finds were not fruitful! I spent the day with Will, Rob, and DuVal excavating the "downstairs," or Unit 13. We made quite a bit of progress in taking the unit deeper. We took it down from Level 10 all the way to 16! Here is a picture to give you an idea of how much we took out of this unit:
Since we did not find any features on our way down, we mostly screened what we took out through 1/4" screen. What we found were mostly lithic artifacts, along with some burnt clay.
The reason we were so eager to take out so many levels in out last day, is because Dr. White believed there to be a Gilford component towards the bottom. It turns out that this was correct, because we were lucky to find this in our screen: one full Gilford point.
This find is significant because it shows that people were in this area hunting and living here in the Middle Archaic period. After finding mostly flakes and debitage, it was refreshing to find one whole artifact that is diagnostic like this point. This find was a great way to wrap up our day, and along with it the last day of excavation at the site. It will be a bit sad to cover up our unit, but students next semester will be opening it up again to discover more about this very interesting Guilford component!
All good things must come to an end, including field school. Today marks our last excavation day in the field, and though we are all sad to see it end we are proud of the work that we have accomplished over the semester!
In the morning, JJ and I continued our work on removing Feature 11. This feature is very large in both depth and width, so its removal has been a slow process. Its boundaries are also not very distinct, so going slowly in order to avoid removing parts of the matrix is even more important. Eventually, the excavation of Feature 11 turned into a one person job, so JJ went to help in Units 3 and 12 while I continued excavation and piece plotted any FCR I came across. Unfortunately, I was unable to finish with Feature 11 by the end of the day. Looks like that will be a job for next year’s group!
Unit 13 has come a long way since the beginning of the semester and is almost to ground level. There have been a lot of interesting artifacts from this unit and today was no different. By the end of the day, Katie, Robert, Duvall, and Will dug through several sterile levels before uncovering some flakes and a Guilford point.
JJ and Caroline spent the afternoon taking careful profiles of the north walls of Units 12 and 13. This included a description of the dirt, comprised of its composition, texture, and color according to the Munsell color chart. It is important to record this information now, as the units will be completely filled in by the end of next Friday.
Ben and Sam worked on wrapping up the excavation of Unit 4 by piece plotting any remaining artifacts. After completing this task, they backfilled Feature 12.
We had some extra time at the end of the day, so we began to start backfilling the block in order to cut down on our work next Friday. It is important to backfill features and units, as this is the best way to protect them until next spring. I was a little sad to see Feature 11 get covered up, but at least I no longer have to worry about collapsing its walls!
After that we covered the units with out big tarp and called it a day. Hopefully the nice weather will return next Friday!
-Well! It was yet another very busy day at the site! The end of the semester is getting nearer and with only one more day of solid excavation on our schedule remaining, we set to work so that we would accomplish as much as possible.
In Unit 13, Dr. White, Mr. DuVal, Robert, and Caroline continued the excavation and mapping of the features that remained in the unit, with two of them possibly being post holes well below the plow zone. Speaking of the plow zone, they also mapped out the different zones in relation to one another and for future reference in which we can accurately map out where the data is being collected from.
In Unit 5, Will and Katie both continued the process of piece plotting in the floor of the unit, marking each object so that we can get a better idea of what has covered the unit with so much debitage.
In Unit 4, Sam and Ben bisected the feature (Feature 12) that took up a large portion of the unit. Taking their time, they made a slight step within the feature as it changed its shape while they were excavating it. They also removed several pieces of FCR (fire-cracked-rock) that were then brought back to the lab so they could be analyzed.
In Unit 6, Ella and I started with the removal of the back fill that was put into the excavated half of Feature 11 to protect the other half that had yet to be excavated. After removing the back fill, we drew the feature in profile so that we would be able to see exactly how large it was and the location of anything that we removed once we excavated the remaining half. We then took the core of the other half of the feature from the top to the bottom as a flotation sample. After this we began to remove the the southwestern half of the feature. We continued to do this until we ran out of time and then refilled the feature with back fill so that we could continue without it being disturbed.
This week I decided I would do something nice to make up for my many clumsy mistakes. I got Dr. White an apology cake that said “I am sorry for stepping on the walls,” because I am very clumsy and have stepped on a couple of walls this past semester.
When we got to the site we started as we usually do. First we started up the pump to get rid of the water and after it sucked out all the water we removed the tarp. After we removed the landscape fabric and plywood covering our unit (Unit 4).
Me, Sam, and Caroline were all working together. We were tasked with getting a flotation sample from the inner zone of the southeast half of Feature 12. Once that was done we screened the southeast half of the outer zone. After that we set up the photo board and photographed that half of Feature 12. Personally I really enjoyed cleaning up the unit for a picture because I find using the paint brush really satisfying. By the time we did all that we were done with the day so we placed landscape fabric in the feature and backfilled. Personally I am really proud of myself for not messing anything up this week.
DuVal, Robert, and Kate continued on the wall at Unit 13, where they found part of another point! And Ella worked on Feature 11 in Unit 6 directly behind us. She was doing very similar things to us except the feature she was working in had been started weeks before (and is much deeper).
Cleaning up went the same as it does every week. First we placed landscape fabric over any exposed features and then back filled, after that we placed landscape fabric in the units as well as plywood. Then we brought the tarp back over and covered the site up again until next week.
I would like to apologize for my lack of pictures: this week I got to into what I was doing and forgot to take any. As always this class is super fun and I cannot wait to get back out there next week.
It felt good to be back in the field after missing last week! Day 10 was a productive one that I spent working with DuVal and Rob excavating Unit 13, also known as the really cool wall of several features.
DuVal and I started the day by mapping out Feature 4, which is a pit that is full of fire-cracked rock. Since it is right next to Feature 3, which may have been a nut roasting pit, it is possible that this spot was where people made lithic tools and ate snacks together. Here is DuVal scraping extra soil out of the feature to show the rocks in more detail.
As you can see, the feature is on the very edge of our unit, so unfortunately we could not excavate it in its entirety, as we would have to begin a new unit to do so. I spent the morning mapping the artifacts out as they sat in the soil on graph paper. The soil that Duval is removing from the feature was put safely into a bag as a flotation sample, in which it will be pumped and filtered through water to harvest very small items. This can include wood, bone, and charcoal.
Most of our time in Unit 13 today was spent trowel scraping for artifacts, which we then plotted on our map of the unit. This method is done by taking a trowel, and removing the dirt in thin layers to reveal artifacts, and leaving them in their place to map them. Doing this method, Rob was able to find two different fragments of large Savannah River projectile points! This one is the lower half of one. You can see how large it is on the graph paper:
We also found a lot of flakes and small sherds (burned clay?) through screening the dirt removed from the Unit through a 1/4" screen.
We finished up our day by taking the unit down to an even 140 centimeters below datum -- the base of level 7. I'd consider this a day well spent!