Today posed a little bit of a challenge to all of us. It rained very, very heavily on Thursday, and when we drove up to the dirt road that leads to the site, we found that it was completely flooded and would not be possible to drive or walk across.
We realized that if we wanted a chance at doing any digging today, we would have to find another route, so we set out on foot walking parallel to the Broad River to see if we could find a path on higher ground that would not be flooded. Surprisingly, after walking for about a half an
hour (and fording a stream), we were actually able to reach the site without having lost too much time.
As we expected, the upstairs block was completely filled with water that would have to be removed before we could get to work. Unfortunately, the water pump was still back in Dr. White’s truck, so while he and a small crew went to retrieve it and some other equipment, the rest of us got to work bailing the water out with buckets. Dr. White set the pump up when he got back and we continued bailing, but all in all it took at least an hour to clear all of the water out. Finally, we were able to remove the tarp and get to work.
Everyone kept working on the new units that we are opening up, and Zoe and I continued working on the first level of Unit 16 in the southeast corner of the block. Zoe shoveled while I screened, and we found a few rocks (including one pretty large one) and a few small pieces of rusty metal that appeared to be iron. Our level goes down to 50 cmbd, so once we got close to that depth, we both started troweling to straighten our walls and level out the floor. We realized
that, even though we had both been very concerned and cautious about not going below 50 cmbd (centimeters below datum), our floor still dipped to about 51 cmbd in a couple of places. That isn’t the worst thing since we are digging in the plow zone, but we were wary of accidentally going any lower than that, so we spent the rest of the day troweling slowly and meticulously, while frequently (maybe obsessively) measuring our depths with the laser level.
We got close to finishing, and our walls were pretty straight, but we were not quite able to get the floor level by the time we had to pack up and walk back to the trucks. Hopefully with more practice I will be able to finish troweling a unit a lot faster, but we were both happy with the way our unit is looking. We had a surprisingly productive day given how it started, but we are all hoping that next week we will be able to truly have a full day in the field and really make some progress on our units.