Aaron Forman

 

April 16, 2019 (Week 3)

 

At the beginning of today’s lab session, Professor Knodell familiarized the group with several pieces of equipment that we would use during our fieldwork session. Examples of some of these items include the item and feature recording sheets, the compass, and flagging tape. Next, we drove to a location to conduct the survey, but a controlled burn fire was taking place in the area at this time and we decided to try our survey at a different location. Upon arriving at the new location near Waterford Mill, our group conducted a survey of two areas divided by a pathway. First, we measured the number of steps it would take us to walk five meters, allowing us to space ourselves out in the field appropriately. We divided into two groups with one group surveying each side of the main path. Since I had the flagging tape, I started my path on one end of the survey team. To begin, I pointed my iPhone compass at a broken tree branch to determine the number of degrees in the direction I was facing. The rest of the group then used their step count to space each surveyor five meters from the previous team member. Following this step, everyone used his or her compass to ensure that we were all ready to move in the same direction. Finally, we began to walk forward carefully, observing the ground two meters to each side of us while maintaining a straight line of travel direction. Once we got to the determined stopping point, I placed flagging tape on the tree and the photography specialist of our group, Jaylin, took a picture of it to mark the location. We repeated this process by shifting the group members around Zobeida, who walked on the opposite side of the survey area as me. Therefore, my next marking and walking line took place on the complete opposite side of the field. After walking back in the direction we originally came from but shifted over in the field, we conducted one final walk heading West. Throughout the three surveys, we did not come across any remains of human material culture. I observed poop from different species, plants, and some people saw a snake, but human evidence was lacking.

However, on the opposite side of the path, the other surveying group came across an area with a significant material culture signature. I observed rusted metal cans, glass bottles, and some items resembling pipes and bricks, although I did not have very much time to study the pieces they discovered. I also saw them placing the items in bags and documenting them in a similar manner to what I did with “small finds” at Tell Keisan, Israel, last Summer, although without the help of a computer database. I am very excited to take a closer look at these objects and determine how they inform our understanding of Northfield’s past!

 

April 9, 2019 (Week 2)

During today’s lab, we headed to the Rice County Historical Society to learn about the history of the county’s inhabitants from prehistoric times through the present day with Executive Director Susan Garwood. At the museum, Susan provided us with a sense of the geography of Rice County using a large map located near the building’s entrance. Through the map, she explained the difference in geographical features between areas on the map, such as the abundance of lakes in the West but not the East as a result of glaciation patterns, and also pointed out where various important events and archaeological research in the county have taken place. Next, we moved to the portion of the museum dedicated to the collection of artifacts from the Paleo-Indian, archaic, and Mississippian Native American cultures that existed in Rice County. I particularly enjoyed this section of the museum because I was able to compare the tools in it to other types of paleolithic tools I studied in my Archaeology of Mediterranean Prehistory class this past Winter. Other exhibits in the museum documented the county’s history during historic times. Exhibits that stood out to me include one presenting Rice County’s history as a fur trapping territory, a display dedicated to Heisman Trophy winner Bruce Smith, and the military uniforms worn by veterans from Rice County who served their country in wars throughout American history. I believe that the museum did an excellent job of presenting material culture with a true sense of its diversity by displaying so many different types of artifacts ranging from trophies to tools to clothing. By touring the museum, I feel that I have a better connection to the place in which I am spending my collegiate years and a greater understanding of the efforts that have been made to preserve its history.