This week was our first official full day. We arrived to find no water blocking our path to the site, making set up quick and easy. We began with the usual: we unloaded the trucks, pumped water out of the block, and got the tarp moved to an open field to dry. After setting off to begin work on our designated areas, Rob, James, and DuVal discovered that the portion of the wall they were working on excavating had collapsed. The water line indicating how high the water had reached was unbelievably high.
Once we surveyed the damage, the rest of us got to work on our assigned units. Sami and I finished the SE quadrant of Unit 15. We removed any remaining loose dirt, checked that our walls were straight, and took our final measurements. Then, Dr. White came over and showed us how to finalize the paperwork, including using the Munsell Soil Chart to determine the color of the soil in the unit and taught us the jargon to describe soil properties, like the texture. We determined our soil was sandy loam, meaning that it’s a composite of multiple soil types but mostly made up of sand.
After filing away our very first completed paperwork for an archaeological site, we began work on the NE quadrant of Unit 15. We took the initial measurements of the height below datum in centimeters and filled out the information on a new FS log entry and artifact bag. At the same time that we broke ground on the new quadrant, Lelia and Robert began digging the SW quadrant of Unit 15. Sami did most of the initial shovel work while I screened the dirt she removed on the 1/4” screen. Fletcher came over and helped Lelia and I screen our dirt.
After our lunch break, Sami and I began troweling our quadrant. After troweling for a bit, Dr. White sharpened both of our trowels and we got to experience what a good, sharpened trowel could do. Man, it was so much better after it had been sharpened! However, we realized that we still had a few centimeters to go before we reached 40 cmbd (centimeters below datum), so Dr. White prompted us to use the shovel again. I began practicing taking off only small portions of dirt with the shovel and it was actually quite satisfying. As I removed what I thought to be centimeters of dirt, Sami would periodically check the depth. I say “what I thought to be centimeters of dirt” because I have found that I need to learn what a centimeter looks like. I suppose it will come with practice, but my “centimeter” was sometimes not even a half a centimeter.
However, we eventually made it to 40 cmbd! Next week we will clean up any loose dirt in the NE quadrant, take our final measurements, and use the Munsell chart to describe our soil, before beginning the work to bring Unit 15 down to the next level.