Week 9 & 10 : Documenting Artifacts
On these weeks, we worked on counting the artifacts collected and recorded them into the Artifact note spreadsheet. I documented the artifacts and made sure everything is correct. We sorted the artifacts by collection type: gridded survey, field survey, surface collection, excavation trench. Also, we also classified the artifacts by lot, material type, quantity, description, typology, start & end date, chronology notes, use/function, interpretation, resources/references, and catalog number. We work on filling these columns to our best knowledge and findings. We were able to observe the texture and structure of the artifacts and describe it in the description column in many phrases. I think the hardest column will be the interpretation part because it requires relating to archeological theories with the significance of each artifact.
Week 8: Cleaning artifacts
May 21st, 2019
On this day we proceeded on washing cleaning the artifacts we collected from Waterford Mills. We sorted the artifacts into different plastic bags according to the type of artifacts such as glass, ceramics, metals, plastic, and others. Once we washed and cleaned the ceramic and glass, we let it dry and then package it into its plastic bags. We did not wash the metals because many were rusting; instead, we decided to brush them, so the metals are clean. At the end of the class, I took pictures of each artifact from each survey grid to incorporate into ArcGIS for our final project.
Week 7: Excavation Day 3: Mapping
May 14th, 2019
On this day, we continued our excavation process. I worked with Elise in mapping and collecting the GPS coordinates for the lower and upper wall. We save the coordinates for our final project. Since I’m in the mapping and spatial analysis team, the process of collecting GPS coordinates is beneficial in the final project. First, the GPS coordinates were entered into Google Map Pro, and then I download the coordinates into a kms file. Second, I converted the kms file of coordinates into a csv file so it will be accepted in the format that is supported by ArcGis. Overall, the GPS coordinates are useful in completing the map for Waterford Mill site.
Week 6: Excavation Day 2: Trowelling process
May 7th, 2019
We continued on the excavation process from week five and I worked the same site, WM-02 pit, which is Trench One. My team and I trowelled the pit deeper than previous lab day. During trowelling the pit, we discovered more artifacts: ceramics, bones, metals, glass and shells. We also carefully trowelled to make sure we didn’t miss any layers of soil that appear different from the darker topsoil. We trowelled about three to five inches carefully and evenly in order not to damage any artifacts and searching for changes in soil color. We utilized buckets to collect the soft soil from the trowelling process to sift for materials. I helped with carrying the bucket full of soil for sifting, and I noticed various smaller artifacts than we initially didn’t discover. In the end, we carefully brushed the site and took a final picture of our progress. Then we proceeded by labeling each artist in separate bags
Week 5: Excavation on Waterford Mill Site
April 30th, 2019
On this day, we conducted an excavation on the Waterford Mill Site. This was our first time doing an excavation, so Professor Knodell taught us various excavation methods and stratigraphy before conducting the excavation. Before excavating, we had to do an evaluation process of the site; we drew up an account on what we can do, the research agenda, the features of the site, formation process and what equipments we need to use. These were essential topics to consider because it influences how to do an excavation setups and the foundations for it. After the evaluation process, we proceeded in selecting a quadrant from the WMO2 section and we called it Trench One.
I was part of the trash pit excavation team and we were assigned to excavate a section of WM02 site which we named Trench One. After the site identification, we processed to measure the quadrant we selected and made sure it’s an even square, where each of the four sides was an inch. The next step was excavating the surface which we found various artifacts from ceramics, glass, metals and plastics. Then we collected each type of artifact in a plastic bag and sorted them by materials type. The next process was shovel shaving the top layer around an inch and we discovered some artifacts below the surface. In the end, we recorded the artifacts we collected and mapped Trench One in the excavation form for record purposes. We also took some pictures of the trench and cleared the grass with dirt we dug from the trench.
Overall, I learned that the design of excavating relies heavily on the evaluation and methodological process with the opinions of team members before conducting an excavation. One thing that surprised me about excavation is that while it’s an archaeological process to document history, it can also be a destructive process. For example, excavation process can identify, uncover and date objects while destroying artifacts and the chronological layers of the soil.
Week 4: Waterford Mill Site
April 23rd, 2019
We visited the old ruins of Waterford Mill and we utilized various archaeological methods to conduct the site survey. When we arrived, we noticed the wall ruins and the site was covered with thick vegetation and a river running down the hill. We were assigned to three different teams: mapping team, site clearance team and grid marking team. Aaron and I were part of the mapping team, and we worked togethering on mapping and recording our observation in the features form for our designated site (WM02). We drew the site and materials that we observed and marked points in the feature form for documentation purposes.
As we were surveying the site, we came upon a pit that contains numerous trash such as ceramics, rusted metal bucket, broken glass bottles, teacup, plate fragments and many more. We recorded this site as WM02 and used the GPS antenna for marking the coordinates. For recording GPS points, we used the red tape to mark the points. Moreover, we also used the measuring tape to measure the pit’s width, height, and length for the GPS coordinates. We did not collect any objects or artifacts because were are still in the early archaeological phase of marking and recording the site.
I think the natural formation process might be a huge factor that makes it challenging to survey the site due to the thick vegetation of trees. I noticed trees growing from and pushing the wall while destroying it. Also, I inferred that the thick grass might cover artifacts that we have not discovered yet and it should be a task for further archeological investigation in surveying the soil and digging for artifacts. Overall I learned a lot from this lab especially surveying a site that has thick vegetation, which is challenging. I also learned to navigate, record and work as a team in the site survey. In conclusion, it was a sunny and lovely day to conduct an archaeological site survey. Waterford Mill is an important site that has significant archaeological and historical accounts of Northfield. It was a place of trade and commerce which is essential to understanding the consumption of the town and how and people participated in the business.
Week 3: Field Work
April 17th, 2019
On this day, the class and I went to do field work experiment on an empty plot of land outside Carleton College. At the beginning of the class, Professor Knodel taught how to use the archaeological equipment such as the meter, compass, and advised the class to record and collect samples from the field. We were assigned into two teams with field walkers, a mapper and a team leader in each team. We did a pedestrian survey, and we are assigned to survey a defined study area. One the field, we were able to extract plastic, metals, and other human-made materials from the soil.
As a mapper for my team, I was in charge of surveying and collecting coordinates on the field and navigate my team members on where to survey. I worked closely with the team leader, Loren Townsend, in supplying bags for our team to collect samples. The impact of the rain and muddy soil with low visibility might have affected our ability to notice archaeological remains, but the rain also made it easier to see some materials such as plastic, which appeared on the topsoil.
Overall, I have learned some useful archaeological skills in mapping and surveying. I also learned that fieldwork is an archeological process that requires careful surveying and recording data and field in order to make an archeological expedition. As a mapper, the challenge I faced was learning how to efficiently and accurately collect the coordinates for the area. As a result, I utilized GPS to acquire the exact coordinates to map the field and trace where objects are found, which is a fast and accurate way to record data in the field.
Week 2: Rice County Historical Society
April 9th, 2019
We visited the Rice County Historical Society, and it was a great experience learning about the history of Northfield and its geographic changes through different periods. The periods strikes me the most because I was able to see the various tools and weapons used by early humans in different periods and it was interesting to see how tools improved. It started with humans using stones as tools for weapons and grinding food. Then it advanced to using axes, hammer, and bow & arrows. Weapons of war advanced in destructive capability and became more lethal over the periods.
The Paleo-Indian Period 10,000 – 6000 B.C
Woodland/Mississippian 10,000 BC to 650 AD
1650 AD to Present