Over the past month, it has been very wet. We have had days we could not work at the site and we have had days where we had to hike in, due to flooding, instead of driving. The amount of water that has been dumped onto the site and the surrounding area has been immense. I heard something along the lines of record setting one day on the news…something like since December 1, 2019, until now, these three months, having received the most rainfall in recorded history. The ground really is quite saturated. The nearby Wateree River reached very high levels, destroying many peoples’ property with the quick rise, although there may be other factors at play there, to be honest. The Broad River level at the site increased by 15 to 20 feet.
The drive in was difficult. The road had been reduced to a muddy path, and large chunks of it had washed away. Access to the site was unusually difficult.
All of this water has had an extreme effect upon the site. The landscape surrounding the site has changed. Portions of the exposed wall had collapsed. In fact, the water was probably 4 to 6 feet up on the wall, meaning, large portions of the wall were submerged and possibly damaged.
The excavation block in the upper area was not damaged to anywhere near the same extent as the wall. It is on the highest ground in the immediate area, and therefore, it did not have run off coming through it. However, the block was quite full of water.
Our experience of the subtle art of tarp pulling became necessary on this particular day. The difficulty was ensuring we removed all the water with none of it getting into the pit, as that could do damage to the excavation. We had to carefully tug the tarp from the sides to ensure all the water ran to the middle, where there was a pump…yet, still ensuring the pump was in enough water to not run dry…and also ensure that you were not dumping water from a lower fold of the tarp into the pit. After great effort, cooperation and care, the team finally experienced success in this task. It was rewarding to see such a seemingly small task become such a group triumph.
Once we had access to the block, Leila and I continued work on excavating through the plow zone in Unit 15. We worked in a 2x2 unit by excavating 1x1's so that we could get practice with forming baulks, walls, and floors. We did not see much, and anything we did see was out of context. As discussed in my last post, the context was fairly well eradicated.
Unlike any other day so far this season, we got to spend a full day on site. When recovering the site, we were intentional to put the tarp in place so that we did not attempt to fight the water. It is a fight we would lose. This looked like ensuring that the tarp was not suspended over the pit, but instead sitting in the pit to create a pool so that next time, we could either via pump or bucket, extricate the water without damaging the site. We think we did this appropriately. This was fun, as we had a tarp the size of Rhode Island!