We basically spent the lab portion of this week getting to know the arb as well as the area immediately surrounding the arb. Besides getting to know the arb, we spent a long time just defining what archaeology is and covering the things that we are going to do over the next ten weeks. Before Tuesday, I had never been in the lower arb. In the lower arb, we took a trail that led to a mill on the Cannon River. After we saw the old mill, we went to the site where the Women’s league cabin used to be. It was super cool to see and learn so much about Carleton’s history. On Thursday, we got even more familiar with the lower arb and the are behind the rec by going to different location and noting down what we saw around us. It was cool to learn how to read the land.
This week’s lab was pretty interesting. The day started out with us heading to Carleton’s archives to learn more about them and learn how to utilize them for the class. I’m definitely going to be utilizing the archives this term. After we learned about using the archives, we drove to Faribault to go to the Rice Country history museum, where we met Merv. Merv is an archaeologist that has spent 40 years of his career doing research in North Dakota. He talked to us for awhile about really cool artifacts that were found in just Rice County. They had a collection of a ton of stone tools and ceramics that have been preserved for thousands of years. It’s really weird to think about who’s going to be playing with some of my stuff in a couple thousand years… After our visit to the museum we went to the site where an old mill used to be on the Cannon River in Dundas. The mill was super cool. A lot of it had been overgrown, but he the main walls remained standing. I definitely want to re-visit that place with some friends.
For this week’s lab, we did our very first Archaeological Survey. Before we went out into the arb, where we would be surveying a field for around 2 hours, we had a discussion in class about what archaeological survey even is. Basically, we learned that surveying is a very important first step to the archaeological analysis of an area. Excavations usually take place after the area has been surveyed thoroughly. Before we went out to survey the area, Alex and Alex taught everyone how to use the different gear that we were going to need for the day. We learned how to use compasses and how to use the GPS devices. Even though there are a ton of different types of survey, we did a pedestrian type of survey today called field walking. We basically all just went to a field in the arb, split into three groups of 8 or 7, and spread ourselves out 10 meters apart from each other. In these lines, we walked straight north, looking for artifacts within two meters. After 100 meters, we would meet back up with the group and put each artifact that was found into bags. On these bags, we would put the date, the material of the object, the section the object was found in, the amount of total objects found in that section, and our initials. We basically just repeated this four more times, then moved into another section of the field to repeat the same process going the other way. After all of that, we went back to the arb office to regroup. Overall, it was a pretty cool day. I came to class with a very basic understanding of field survey and left with a better understanding and a nice sunburn.
This week’s lab class really felt like our first taste of actual archaeology work (not that any of the other work we’ve done hasn’t felt like archaeology, but we actually got to start on a project). Before the lab portion of the class, we had Jerry Sabloff, a fellow archaeologist, give us a really awesome presentation on some of the work he’s done in Mexico. His talk was really cool because he explained everything he did and he provided pictures and extensive knowledge about the area where he was working. He was just so knowledgeable, and I think I could listen to him talk about archaeology for hours. As for the actual lab portion of the class, we started surveying the Pine Hill Village area. The class’s main goal for the day was to start setting up a grid of 10mx10m squares that we would be surveying throughout the area. The grid includes the area that Goodhue lies on as well as all of the area that Pine Hill Village would have been on. We measured out 50m going northwest at one corner of the grid, then measured out 50m 90 degrees from the same point, forming one complete corner of our grid. We then tied string to the steak on the corner and followed the tape measure. At the end of the 50m, where the tape measure was, we staked down the string. We did this for both sides of the corner. We then tied pink tape every 10 meters along the string. Most of our lab time was spent learning how to set the grid, but once we got rolling, the only things stopping us were the thorny bushes. We got about 3 rows of the grid done, and I think we’re all excited to get back out there next week to continue creating our grid and maybe even start the with the excavation of the area.
This weeks lab was our (our being myself and three other classmates’) first taste of actually excavation. We pretty much got right to business today. We started the class with dividing everyone up to continue the survey of the Pine Hill Village site as well as to start the excavation of two areas of the site that were identified last week. There was a group for mapping the GIS data, two excavation groups that started excavating the rubble pile and fire hydrant in the site, and the rest of class was designated to plotting more squares on the grid and surveying them. I was on the team that started with the excavation of the fire hydrant. When we got to the site, professor Alex helped us set up a 2x2m grid around the hydrant that would be our little square of excavation. We didn’t really get super deep into the ground, –probably like how you imagine excavation from movies– but we did clear all of the grass from the grid and got down into the first couple inches of the soil. We used shovels and trowels to do most of the work. For most of the lab, it was just me and one other person digging on the grid, while the other two were sifting through all the dirt that we dug up. We didn’t find many artifacts, but we found a whole bunch of worms and larvae. The dig would have been really fun if it wasn’t raining and cold the entire time, so it was just fun. It would have been perfect if the weather was a little bit nicer, but overall, it was a pretty interesting experience. I can’t wait to see what secrets are hiding underneath the hydrant.
In this weeks, we continued to survey and excavate the Pine Hill Village site. I was tasked with finishing the southwest potion of the grid along with Noah and Maya. We basically just had to add one more line to the end of the grid (shoutsout to the thorns from week 4). To do this, we went to the bottom left corner, walked 10m on 215° to the southwest, then from that point, led a string 100m 325° to the northwest. After that, I pretty much just helped out around the rest of the site. I worked with a group trying to uncover an asphalt path that led from Goodhue to the village. We pretty much just ended up ruining part of the path trying to find the asphalt hidden underneath the grass, but it was alright because we filled in the massive holes that we created. The group also started to take apart some of the grid, including Noah Maya and I’s fresh line 😦 It’s okay, though. Luckily, it was super nice out today, which was a huge factor in how much fun this lab was considering how sad the weather was last week. I look forward to wrapping up the survey at Pine Hill next week!
Today was the last day of field work in the Pine Hill Village grid. We might go back out there when we work on our final projects, but as for our lab classes, it was the last time we were going to be out there. At the beginning of the lab today, I worked with the GIS computer with Claman, Natalie, and Melanie. It was the first time that I got to work with the machine, and it was pretty cool learning about the machine and how to use it. Unfortunately for us, most of the notable points within the grid had already been mapped, so Alex had our group move to the U section of the grid to dig Shovel Test Pits. We basically just dug holes that were probably 1x1feet down to about the length of the shovel. In our first hole, we found a bunch of concrete, which could have possible been part of the foundation for one of the Pine Hill Village units. The second hole we dug was in the middle of part of the forest around the site, so digging was actually pretty difficult because of the heavy tree and bush cover. Near the end of the lab, we needed to map all of the new STPs around the site. It was really fun working in the arb for all of those lab classes. Hopefully we’ll come back soon to work on the site for our final projects.
During this week’s lab class, we spent the majority of the day going through all of the artifacts that we found while surveying in the Pine Hill Village grid. To start out, the class broke up into groups depending on what everyone worked on the most. Since we found artifacts from the field survey, walking on the grid, and excavation pits, we had to break up into groups that would do an analysis of each of the artifacts from those sections. I was put in the walking survey on the grid. We started the artifact analysis by simply splitting up all of the artifacts into the regions on the grid where we found them (arranged by letter and number on the grid). After we had all of the artifacts sorted out, we split up into teams of two to start analyzing the artifacts. We put all of the information on some excel documents. I can’t wait to wrap up the work on our project in the coming couple weeks!
This week, Eric and I started with our photogrammetry work. One group of the class set up an archaeology day for members of the Northfield and Carleton community to come check out, so while some folks were looking at our excavation pits, Eric and I took photos of the pit with the fire extinguisher to be photogrammet-rized. The drizzling rain made this process seem a little slow, but once we finished, we were ready to transfer the photos to Eric’s laptop, where we would end up making image “masks” for each individual picture for the photogrammetry software. In order to make the mask, you basically just had to open the photo in photoshop and delete everything in the picture that wasn’t the trench. We pretty much just spend the rest of the class working on these pictures so we could be prepared for the photogrammetry (and eating all of the leftover snacks from the school’s first archaeology day). We will go into the GIS lab on Thursday to hopefully get a 3D model of the pit using Agisoft Photoscan.
For our last lab class, we were given pretty much the entire time to work on our final projects. With 4 hours, Eric and I figured that we could take photogrammetry photos of an artifact (the last thing we needed for our project) and create a 3D model before class ended. So, we pretty much just spent the entire class doing that. Our object was a piece of cement found in one of the trenches. We used Austin Mason’s photogrammetry gear this time because since we were trying to model an artifact, we couldn’t just move around the object and take pictures like we could with the trenches. Austin provided us with what was basically a collapsible box with two sides, a bunch of lights, a green screen for the background, and a rotating stand for the artifact. We set up the box with the green sheet covering the walls, and set out artifact on the rotating stand and began to take pictures. Once we had all of the pictures, we created image masks on photoshop, then took them to the GIS lab where we could begin modeling. We uploaded the photos to the 3D modeling program, and after around an hour and a half of working with the software, we had our artifact up on our website. All I have left to do now is finish work on the website, then I’ll pretty much be done with this class. It’s been really interesting learning more about what archaeology is, and I’ve really had a great time with this class.