When we first arrived back at the site we started off by removing the tarps and starting a pot of coffee. We were greeted by the fortunate sight of no water in the block so we did not have to waste any time bailing water.
I was back in Unit 12 with Robert. We just had a little bit of Level 4 to finish off so we got that all smoothed out for photographing. Level 4 was very rich in potsherds, as well as having a feature in the northwest quadrant and a historic posthole in the northeast quadrant.
After having a look, Dr. White decided he wanted to board off about two thirds of the unit with landscaping fabric and particle board so we could have somewhere to sit and for us to piece plot the southern third of the unit. Piece-plotting is where you go very slowly with a trowel and dustpan and stop every time you hit something to flag it. Once the unit is full of flags we are going to map their locations out. We did not have to start a bag for this level yet because we have yet to catch anything in the screens: this is a good thing because it means we have been very careful with our piece-plotting.
Ella and DuVal finished off Level 1 in Unit 13, which is along the cut. They found fire-cracked rock, flakes, and pottery. After that they continued on to Level , excavating the second plowzone as a natural level.
Over in Unit 5, JJ and Sam continued to trowel scrape and piece-plot. There where two decent-sized rocks in their unit. The smaller of them turned out to be a greenstone axe head. The larger one Sam had started to uncover last season and was very happy to finally remove. It turned out to just be a big rock.
Caroline was over in Unit 3, starting about 40 cm below datum and continuing down to the base of the upper plowzone (shoveling and shifting only). She found some potsherds, including plain, and some with stamping and punctate decoration.
Finishing up Dr. White had purchased an enormous 50 foot tarp that could cover the entire opened area of the site. This both made closing up easier and should make reopening and closing every week much easier.
We were greeted today with water-free units and some animals that had taken up residence under the tarps. After safely evacuating a family of mice and handling a worm snake that had made its way into the excavation block, we were ready to start Day 6 of our dig.
We pretty much kept to the same tasks as last week. In Unit 13, DuVal and I continued to carefully excavate in natural levels. By the end of Level 1 we had uncovered a fair amount of sherds, flakes, and fire-cracked rock. This isn’t surprising considering that we are digging over a known feature, and we are hopeful that more artifacts will continue to appear as we move closer to the feature. After taking depths and finishing the Level 1 paper work, we carefully continued into level 2 where we stopped for the day.
This unit has been a bit tricky, as its location means that we must dig very carefully to keep the wall from collapsing. The shape of the unit changes somewhat as we go further down thanks to overhanging dirt, but through careful paper work and troweling we have managed to avoid any disasters. If I have learned one thing from this unit it is the importance of field notes!
There was very exciting news out of unit 5, where JJ and Katie continued their piece-plotting. Not only did they completely uncover Sam’s rock, but the other rock in Unit 5 was revealed to be what looks like a stone axe head! We were lucky to be able to observe this artifact in situ, and its excellent condition makes it a great complement to the other artifacts collected this semester.
Over in Unit 3, Caroline and Sam continued their excavation work starting from about 40 cm below datum. Carefully shoveling instead of trowelling, they made it to the end of the plowzone by the end of the day and had recovered some interesting plain and punctate pottery.
Ben and Robert continued to excavate Unit 12. This unit has produced lots of decorated pottery sherds, and today was no different! They finished up zone 2 and began to work on zone 3 (below plowzone), where they started piece-plotting.
Today’s work marked the halfway point of our fieldwork, and it was a very productive day at that. (It isn’t everyday that you find a stone axe!) Hopefully the good luck and warm weather will continue for the remainder of the semester.