Our first class consisted of walking through basic survey techniques to be used in future fieldwork, along with an overview of Professor Knodell’s own fieldwork in Petra and in conducting the Mazi Archaeological Project. Following the lecture, we undertook a hike through the lower Arb, taking care to note several points along the way that indicated or spoke to its history, with allusions made to the Mill.
Our class consisted of an initial discussion regarding methodology and perspectives regarding surveying. Our lab activity was thus the process of conducting a survey in the cornfield behind the baseball fields, utilizing GPS mapping software (which accounted for the end points of the entirety of the area surveyed, subsequently broken into categorized segments).
Each member of the respective three teams was ordered in a straight line, spaced apart by 10 meter intervals (measured to each individual at the start of the surveying) in order to most efficiently purvey the ground for artifacts. All found items were bagged and labeled. Our team found a number of golf balls, a shoe sole, pieces of plastic, and the remains of a skeleton. We further discussed the proximity of the cornfield to the site of Pine Hill Village.
After a presentation by Jerry Sabloff for the first portion of the class, we ventured out to the Pine Hill Village site where we utilized a grid prepared by Prof. Knodell to mark the parameters of the area we sought to survey. The grid was established at the South East Corner, with Prof. Knodell commenting on utilizing the remains of the fire hydrant as a marker. A compass was then used by the other team to create the bearing of the first vertical/perpendicular in order to establish the first horizontal.
Tape measures were then stretched out to create the primary lines, with string extended along those lines for the use of the flagging tape (tape was marked in 10 meter segments). I paired with Sarah to conduct a pedestrian survey in three different sections – with Jerry joining us for the latter portion.
We found quite a few items – among them: shards of glass, the broken glass remains of a bottle, remains of what appeared to be a flower pot, rubber, and some pieces of plastic. Jerry assisted us in finding the remains of the flowerpot, as the clay? shards were so embedded in the ground, Sarah and I initially passed over them despite our collective perusal.
The weather was somewhat difficult to work through, as the rain proved to be a relentless force throughout the class period. Our attempts to record our findings and collected artifacts were thus significantly slowed down, as we had to redo a lot of what we had recorded.
The class began initial excavations of the Pine Hill Village site, although I personally was not a part of the excavation team. Two excavation trenches (the fire hydrant and rubble pile) were outlined, with boundaries and corners marked accordingly. The teams assigned then proceeded to remove the top layer of soil, working to remove the layers below in a methodical fashion. Each layer removed was subsequently sieved by a team in an established area to the side, which produced several shards of glass.
I was assigned with a partner to survey several sections of the site, which produced another golf ball and more glass. The areas perused was quite discomfiting to make our way in, as the underbrush proved to be very thick, with brambles and thorns, and hampered our ability to survey the ground as thoroughly as was desired.
Luckily, the weather this particular class period proved to be a boon to the work we accomplished – in the 60’s with sun providing warmth, as we surveyed/excavated. As a part of the survey team, we were thus able to peruse the sections we covered with greater clarity and conduct a more thorough inspection, naturally resulting in the finding of more artifacts (on both the excavation and survey side). My partner and I were able to survey the ground with more ease, as we were able to distinguish between the soil vs other items. Interestingly enough, I found an old condom wrapper amongst the thorns/brambles.
We further ended up assisting in the marking of boundaries, tagging every 10 meters. Towards the end, once my partner and I had completed the survey units we had been assigned, we split up. I headed back to clean the tools, and to assist Jack and Zayn in their organization of the artifacts that had thus far been collected. They came up with a sorting system that fell in line with the order of the overall grid that had been outlined.
Tuesday brought about another excavation day, albeit with good weather. While I was not present, excavation and shovel test pits were the primary activities occurring. While some groups found archaeological features from the village, other groups did not. The shovel test pits were overall conducted with the measurements of being around 3 feet deep and 2 feet wide, placed in the middle of grid squares/or in more specific locales based on geo-referencing data derived from maps of Pine Hill Village.
We conducted artifact analysis throughout our lab period, separating into several small groups to do so. I was a part of the team analyzing what was found in the shovel test pits (STP’s), and was largely in charge of cleaning the dirt and caked mud off of slabs of concrete/rock in the sink with a toothbrush and nozzle, which would help us to better ascertain what purpose the artifacts might have served, as well as its composition. We further measured the length of the artifacts by drawing a line of about 10 cm to utilize as a barometer. In comparison to the other groups, we had fewer items overall.
As Community Archaeology Day, we had a variety of snacks laid out for individuals who came to peruse the artifacts we accumulated over the past few weeks, along with the site itself (although I was not a part of the group that was working outside today).
Our group (conducting oral histories) spent the majority of the class period skimming through the Algol (specifically, the years 1945-1950’s) to look for veterans that lived in Pine Hill Village, compiling names, and cross referencing with the alumni database. Once we were able to find viable contact information, we reached out for further information/link to the constructed survey.
I scoured CarlTown, the alumni database, for mentions of Pine Hill Village from the alums, and came across a post by an alum named Ken Wedding, who referenced visiting the site with his father as a child. Sarah emailed him, and we received a response this evening. We’ll be conducting an interview with him in the days to come.