2021 Weekly Field/Lab Summaries

This page collects the weekly blog posts written by students over the course of fieldwork during the 2021 field season.

Posts appear in descending chronological order, with the most recent post appearing at the top of the page.

2021 Field Season (Wednesday Lab)

2021 Field Season (Tuesday Lab)

Week 8 (Wednesday Lab)

Bee Candelaria, Dawson Eriksen, and Cecilia Ehrlichman

Class Discussions

This week we spent a fair amount of time talking about the public face of archaeology. We put a lot of importance on archaeology’s relationship with the public and hope to explore the ways in which this interaction can promote equity and diversity. Our class discussed in depth on Tuesday and Thursday the ramifications of archaeological work and findings. This discussion led to a great reflection on the colonial history of archaeology.

We discussed the ways in which moving away from typical aspects of academia like bibliographical work and deep analysis can limit or enhance the communicative power of articles and books. This was a contentious discussion because it commented on several of the boundaries and barriers to entry from literacy to class. This discussion allowed us to view archaeology from its products like scholarship and books rather than its process. This discussion was rich and complicated, as many of us come from different disciplines with different approaches to writing and scholarship. The varied experiences of students in this class allowed us to explore the many possibilities for archaeology in the future.

Alex guides us through the several areas that Archaeology is moving into this Thursday. We discuss the divisions between public and private, and then academic spheres. This coming from last week where we discussed archaeology as a division of anthropology shows how it serves a purpose in the larger scheme of humanistic study. Public archaeology is typically focused on ensuring that new construction does not encroach on important cultural sites. This is typically related to caution around burial and other sites. Private archaeology comes in many forms, and it can vary from the things public archaeology does to specific analysis. There are fewer limitations with private archaeology which was pretty heavily debated, as the ownership of finds is something our class has discussed a lot.

As the class comes to a close we have been moving toward the production of research and the publication of findings. It has become apparent that there are a lot of factors that go into the decisions made on these fronts and that there is a responsibility to do the best work possible. Archaeology much like many fields centralised in the Western academy has a great deal of history that must be negotiated and navigated.

Artifact Cleaning Process and Methods

In order to begin analyzing and systematically categorizing the artifacts from the excavations, we had to sort and clean them. To preserve each artifact optimally, we tailored the cleaning method to the different materials of the artifacts. For the glass materials, we removed soil by submerging them in a basin of water and then polishing them with a toothbrush. We paid careful attention to removing debris that concealed any text that could be used as diagnostic evidence. Another type of item that we cleaned was the golf balls from the field survey. We cleaned these using a similar method, rinsing them with water and scrubbing them with toothbrushes. However, we used a different method for cleaning the metal fragments. In order to prevent further rusting and destruction of these artifacts, we dried the toothbrushes carefully before using them to remove soil and rust from the pieces. We focused on removing dirt from any areas with engraving, to use them as diagnostic evidence.

The items were already sorted by material, but as we cleaned we categorized them by lot. Each lot consisted of items that were indistinguishable from each other by description. For example, two bottle bottoms with unique engravings would be placed in separate lots, while two body pieces of a glass bottle would be categorized in the same lot. We prioritized items that contained more text and symbols and would be more informative of the nature and time frame of the events that occurred at the site. At the end of the lab session, after everything had been cleaned, sorted, and researched, we returned the clean artifacts back to their original bags. Excessively wet artifacts were left out to dry, while only slightly damp artifacts were returned to the bag but left open as an outlet for the moisture to escape.

The toothbrush used to clean the artifacts

Artifact Categorization and Analysis

The finds from this week were entered into a mastersheet. We first began by filling in the information about collection type, collection unit, lot number, material, quantity, description, and typology

This was done by first choosing a collection bag from a singular collection unit. These artifacts were cleaned, as described above, and sorted into preliminary categories.

After the artifacts were cleaned, we inputted information into the spreadsheet. There are three different types of collection types: Excavation, Gridded Survey, and Field Survey that were inputted. Next, the artifact’s particular collection unit and/or context was inputted. The lot numbers were determined by differences in diagnostic information – 6 different glass bases can give 6 different diagnostics, but 57 pieces of metal cans can yield 1 diagnostic. The material and quantity of the lot was then inputted. For material, we mainly stuck with the original categories: Glass, Metal, Plastics, and Other (no lithics, ceramics, or building materials were analyzed by the Wednesday lab). In some cases, such as the Hall’s wrapper, the “Other” material was apparent and was inputted as such – paper. The descriptions of the lots ranged from simple – such as Lot 1 in the Quarry Trench 2, context 1 – to particular and elaborate – such as Lot 5 in GS-K10. These were inputted with as much diagnostic information that could be given by the artifacts. Then, the typology was added.

Collection TypeCollection UnitLot #MaterialQuantityDescriptionTypo-logy
Gridded SurveyGS-K103Glass1Bottom of a clear glass bottle. Inscribed with T-shaped logo surrounded by a triangle, a 66 with an s below it, 10 in a triangle with a 6 above it.Glass Bottle
Gridded SurveyGS-K105Metal1Metal bottle cap. Trademark and registered symbol. Printed: “dietary beverage”, “Ingredients Carbonated Water, Caramel Color 0ALC10, Cyclamate Phosphoric Acid, Caffeine, Saccharin, and flavorings, 1/20 of 1% benzoate of soda as a preservative,” “Bottled by CocaCola bottle co. of Minnesota inc., Minneapolis, Minn. 55414,” “Twist on to reseal twist off to open”Bottle Cap
Gridded SurveyGS-K101Paper1Printed with Hall’s logo, “Don’t give up on yourself,” “Take charge and mean it,” “Don’t try harder, do harder,” “March.”Halls
Field SurveySU-C021Other6White Srixon golf balls, black bars
Field SurveySU-C011Metal1Rusty metal sphere attached to disk with four large teeth, could be part of a door handle
Field SurveySU-C0210Other1Yellow Srixon golf ball, “Limited Flight”
Excava-tionQuarry Trench 2 Context 1 Topsoil1Glass10Brown glass with diagnostic base. Numbers 3875, 64, and letter E. Half of Thatcher Mfg. Co. 1944-1985Glass
Excava-tionQuarry Trench 2 Surface Cleaning to North1Plastic15Misc plastic piecesPlas-tic
Excava-tionQuarry Trench 2 Context 11Metal57Shards of metal canMetal
Samples of the Artifact Analysis spreadsheet inputs. These are the bits of information which can be concurred from simple observation.

Next, we analyzed the Chronology Notes and Use/Function of the artifacts, inputting references and resources alongside that. To condense the table, I’ve used the same artifacts from the last table, and labeled their Collection Type, Collection Unit, Lot Number, and Material.

Collection TypeCollection UnitLot #MaterialChronologyUse/ FunctionReferences
Gridded SurveyGS-K103GlassAnchor Glass Container Corporation – logo of letters AG in the form of an anchor – seen on containers and dates from 1983 to 2014Liquid containerLink
Gridded SurveyGS-K105Metal1967-1968Bottle capLink
Gridded SurveyGS-K101Paper2012-2020Hall’s WrapperLink
Field SurveySU-C021Otherearliest 1997Golf Ballisbn: 978-1483974446The History of Srixon Golf Balls, by M. Hatcher p. 23
Field SurveySU-C011MetalNone Yet FoundPossible door handle
Field SurveySU-C0210Otherearliest 1997Golf Ballisbn: 978-1483974446The History of Srixon Golf Balls, by M. Hatcher p. 23
Excava-tionQuarry Trench 2 Context 1 Topsoil1Glass1944-1985Glass bottleLink
Excava-tionQuarry Trench 2 Surface Cleaning to North1PlasticAfter 1945 from Midwest Plastics inc, st paul mnPlastic containerLink
Excava-tionQuarry Trench 2 Context 11MetalNo Diagnostic InformationMetal cans
Chronological Analysis of Artifacts

Other notes were added as needed. The gold balls from SU-C02, Lots 1 and 10, added:

“From driving range across from survey area”

This was added in order to explain why there would be golf balls in a corn field. 

In compiling the information in the spread, a couple of inferences can be made:

  1. There was either partying or a trash deposition in the late 60s, early 70s.
  2. There were multiple events of either partying or trash deposition, not just one. 
  3. There has been travel out to the site in the past 10 years. 

Once more data is compiled and analyzed, we should be able to chronological certain events in the area, as the data forthcoming is already very promising. 

Week 8 (Tuesday Lab)

Josh Moore, Becca Riess, Neil Givens, Sawyer Stone, and Sophia Heidebrecht

Can Identification

In our lab today, we began the lengthy yet important process of identifying, researching, dating, and recording all of our finds from the past few weeks. Our group began with the sumptuous array of cans discovered in grid L10. Many of the cans still had recognizable brand names, and others were identified as well with a little coaxing. Of the 10 drink cans, we were only unable to identify one; a rather nondescript top piece.

One interesting discovery we made related to the specific pattern of colored wear on the cans. After searching fruitlessly for a white and silver Coca-Cola can design, I realized that a different can from the same grid square had had only its red coloring rubbed off. We concluded that, likewise, the red paint had come off of the coke bottle, as it could easily be found in red.

We also spent a substantial amount of time researching the provenance of a large, rusted can of Rath’s Hickory-smoked Ham that was found in the same grid region. It was a fun challenge, as the company hasn’t existed since 1985 (so has limited documentation). It also seemed somewhat strange to bring ham in a 5-pound can to what was likely a drinking event, but perhaps they prepared it somehow. We were eventually able to narrow its possible date range down to 9 years: looking at the tin on Worthpoint revealed the Patent number, which was found in this book to have been registered in 1965. Furthermore, we found an ad from 1974 that showed a different packaging in use for the same product.

With our remaining time, we also researched, dated, and photographed a few other miscellaneous items; a glass bottle bottom, a mason jar lid, tin foil, a bullet casing, and some more cans and bottle caps. The bullet casing was of particular interest, due to being an interesting item and because of the location that it was found. The casing was found while sifting dirt from the Millpond Dike excavation trench and had the writing “REM – UMC 25 -20” on the back. We discovered that the letters referred to the weapons company Remington UMC that formed out of a merger between Remington and United Metallic Cartridge in 1912. This caused initial concern for us, as the dike was known to be older than 1912, and the casing was found well into the trench, in Context 4. We eventually decided that the casing likely came from the surface of the dike, as we decided to take out a wall of the trench to make digging easier. This likely caused the mixing of contexts that allowed us to find the bullet casing on Context 4.

Happily, the same date range encompasses most of the cans that were studied, especially in the L10 grid: somewhere between the 60s and mid 70s. This would make it seem as though the site was not in use for very long- at least, more than a decade. In fact, this is very compatible with the established history of the arb! Following Henry Stork’s retirement, from 1955 to 1973, the Arb fell into disrepair. In this dark age, maintenance all but ceased, and it became a favorite party spot. In 1969, some restoration efforts were begun; two truckloads of beer bottles were hauled out and the arb was closed off to vehicles. By 1973, or the end of the 70s at least, the parties likely would have been diminished. However, it seems entirely possible that this secluded spot was missed by those crews, and would have remained undisturbed until today. This is the kind of cool stuff we would be missing if we hadn’t dedicated time to identifying and cataloguing our finds!

Similarly, we cleaned and sorted glass shards found in GS-L10 into lots. We started by cleaning them so that the individual details would be more clear. As a first step we divided the glass shards into three categories by their color: brown, green, and clear. However, we realized that these groups could still be narrowed down more, so we looked at what piece of the bottle a shard came from, how thick the glass was, if there were any pieces that fit together, and any other identifying marks that could narrow down the origins of the bottle. We ended up with 18 lots, and proceeded to use the diagnostic pieces — mainly the bottle bases, which tended to contain production information — to try to establish a possible chronology for them.

Lots 7-16 of the glass shards found in GS-L10

Some of the diagnostic pieces could be traced to a narrow date range using details such as logos. For example, Lot 7 has an Anchor entwined with an H as a logo. We found that this logo was used by the Anchor Hocking glass company from 1937 until 1968. However, other pieces were more difficult to pin down. Lot 14 was difficult for us to identify until we found a matching metal cap. Even then, we only found an earliest possible date which didn’t narrow in on a specific date range by much.

If we were to make the assumption that many of the cans and glass found in the gridded collection came from a single social event, we could narrow down the date of the event by cross referencing the date ranges of objects. While this assumption was later proved to be not entirely accurate by the Wednesday lab group, we still attempted this with the objects that we had catalogued. Many of the objects that we dated proved to be of little use, due to either a large date range or lack of an end of production date. Still, we only need the accurate dating of a few objects to greatly narrow down the time that our suspected event occurred. The first of these identifying finds was a base of a clear glass bottle found in the topsoil of Quarry Trench 2. This piece of glass had “B-003” and a strange A looking symbol on it . Through careful search our labmates discovered that the symbol belonged to the American Can Company Glass Division prior to merging with National Can Company, placing the bottle in the fairly narrow range of 1962 – 1967. We also identified a Budweiser can to a date range of 1963 – 1966 (Seen below), corroborating our previous date while shrinking the range further. Reducing the range ever further was a host of items that had a manufacturing start date of 1965. This included the ham tin that we found, some 8 oz Schlitz cans, and the bottom of a glass bottle. By cross referencing these different sources we can narrow the social event that took place at the quarry to 1965-1966. Still, this conclusion relies on both the assumption that the partiers were consuming goods that were manufactured that same year, and the assumption that, because of its secluded location, the site only saw one event rather than extended use.

Budweiser cans with a date range of 1963-1966

Ceramic and Glass identification. 

In order to identify the glass and ceramic shards found in the site, we had to look up manufacturing dates, and when certain styles of ceramic and glass were sold. The founding of corporations and when certain types of bottle tops were standardized in production due to state laws changing were useful in identification. Certain styles were created and then replicated, so finding the first date that the ceramics could have been created was easier than narrowing down the date it was actually left at the site.

Brick and Concrete identification.

Common mass production methods of bricks and concrete had to be researched to identify when the raw materials of the house that was field surveyed were made. There was no actual marker of make, so we could only go off the material itself for identification. This  meant we had a wide date range. 

Week 7 (Wednesday Lab)

Bee Candelaria and Ella Johnson


Before we began this lab, Alex went over more evidence supporting the theory of this being a quarry site. The Tuesday lab had cleared off more of the rock wall at the quarry, and this uncovered the connection between the flat, level stones that made up the floor of the quarry and the cracked, softer stones that made up the rock wall. These steps are seen in the quarry site.

Trench 1 (Figure 3), which the Tuesday group finished excavating, displayed what the kind of stones being quarried were like above these flat rocks. We then split into two groups: one at the quarry site and the other at the Millpond Dike excavation. The groups at the quarry site worked on both continuing to clean off the rock wall and finishing the excavation of Trench 2. 

Figure 3: Stone pattern in Trench 1, displaying the stones likely quarried above the flat stones that make up the floor of the quarry site

MPD Excavation 

At the Millpond Dike this week, Bee, Connor, Cecilia, Scout, and Lucille (+ Sam, if he counts) continued with the meter square trench approximately 100 yards SW of the quarry site. Shovels were almost exclusively used to move the soil into buckets. These buckets were then sifted for artifacts, though none were forthcoming. 

Figure 4: Scout sifting as Sam pours dirt from the trench.

After dirt was removed from the trench, usually about once per context, the platform which the excavators were standing on was dug to be relatively level with the trench. This became harder and harder as we moved on and more dirt had to be moved away from the trench. 

There began, however, to be some soil that was sandier in nature. These soil clumps broke apart to sediment, whereas the other clumps of dark, rich soil just broke apart into smaller clumps. We ended the day halfway through context 8, where the majority of the soil was still the dense, dark soil from previous contexts. The Tuesday group had excavated contexts 4 and 5 and revealed more of the dark, dense soil from contexts 2 and 3. We began with context 6, about 100 centimeters into the trench (Figure 8). Then, digging in sections 10-15 centimeters in-depth, we continued until halfway through context 8 (Figure 10), about 138 centimeters in depth. 

A rock! The most exciting find of the day this week at the Millpond Dike trench. However, it was not recognizably like the stones found at the quarry or in the beginning contexts of the Millpond Dike trench. Likely, this is just a rock. 

Figure 11: The most exciting find of Week 7 at the Millpond Dike Trench

Going forth I believe the best course of action is to have one more day of excavation at the Millpond Dike, if possible. The trench is already as tall as I am (though, at 5’1, that’s not the hardest milestone to make). One more week of digging will hopefully allow us to find the core of the earthwork. 


The cleaned cliffside

The Tuesday group did a lot of the heavy lifting with the rocks and dirt covering the cliffside. Before they began work, the space looked almost like a natural slope from group to the wall but as the dirt, brush, and stones were pulled away the wall became much clearer and more defined. The quarrying activities are much clearer now, it is obvious that the wall was unnaturally revealed by mining work. This work also revealed different layers of stones some of which are very loose and crumble easily. This was where most of the quarry seemed to focus, leaving behind the lower layers of harder stone. We hypothesized that this loose stone could have been removed with a pickaxe while the harder stone could require more intense mining practices. The stone left behind forms the ground and the step coming away from the wall. As we cleaned up the area surrounding the large tree roots viable in this picture, it was clear just how easy it would be to move the loose stones and lightly packed dirt without the use of intensive mining techniques.

Dealing with the roots of trees was a big part of digging out the cliffside. This also illustrated the way that the natural environment may have made quarrying easier. The roots are wedged between many of the stones creating fissures which would make moving stones easier. Unfortunately, these roots also obscure some of the cleared wall.

Looking around the wall area that has not been clean we could imagine how this pattern and technique could continue the length of the quarry site. This part of the site shouldn’t require more work unless better documentation is needed.  

Trench 2

The third week of work at trench 2 yielded some interesting finds and new insights. Most of the work concentrated on getting to bedrock in as much of the trench as possible without disrupting the rocks of the firepit feature. The bedrock is not all at the same depth as can be seen in figure X. This includes the area to the west of the plot which contained context 2, a lower section of light dirt above the bedrock. As in other weeks, more charcoal was found in the areas near the fire pit and rocks.

         Many of the finds from this week matched with what has been found in the past, namely a lot of broken glass and rusted out metal. This day there was also a bit of plastic found which seemed consistent in thickness and quality in a way that implies it is all from the same source. Two of the larger pieces were even able to be lined up so the print of them was clearer. These kinds of finds give me some hope for diagnostic attempts in the next few weeks.

Plastic found in Trench 2

         Another of the big finds was a shotgun shell casing. Some part of a bullet had also been found in the dike trench over the last week. This find is exciting for the way it does not match with the drinking paraphernalia common at the site. This piece also has some lettering on the bottom which could give us a clue to how it came to be in trench 2.     

         The last major find of the day was a fishing hook with a distinctive shape. This holds a lot of the same interest as the bullet casing, for diagnostic interest. These items speak to non-partying or quarrying use of the site which is very interesting. This is something that should be considered as research into the chronology of the site continues. How could we find documentation of fishing or hunting in this part of the arb? Could these items be connected to other uses of the site? Maybe people were shooting cans out here and we’ve misinterpreted the meaning of the cans. These are questions to address in the coming weeks with research and diagnostic work.

Shotgun Shell found in Trench 2
Hook found in Trench 2

         All in all, the work at trench 2 is probably complete unless there is a need to answer a specific question or better document the site. The diagnostic work of the next few weeks has many interesting opportunities to reveal new information about the site.


In wrapping up the work at the quarry site features, some more light was shed on our questions of chronology and use. Work will now move to the lab to begin identifying finds and connecting them with research to further our conclusions. The dike requires a bit more work to reach the center and hopefully answer questions about the construction of that feature. All in all the Wednesday lab had another successful expedition into the Arb! 

Week 7 (Tuesday Lab)

Kairah, Josh, Hana, Sawyer, Emery

Quarry (Trench 1) Excavation

This week’s lab was once again a continuation of the ongoing excavations at our potential Quarry location in the arboretum. Continuing from previous weeks we were uncovering a rock formation which did not seem to be natural. And the goal of the day for Quarry Trench 1, was to finish up the process by finally reaching bedrock. Which we were able to finally accomplish by the end of the lab day.

We continued the usual routine which we have gotten pretty accustomed to by now. We grabbed our brushes, trowels, and dust pans and got to work. We cleared away dirt and sifted through it with a sieve, dumping it about 1 meter away from the trench due North. Unfortunately no new artifacts were found today. However, by concluding our work on the pit we have a decent basis for our hypothesis that this location served as a quarry at some point in time. 

With Alex’s input, we hypothesized that the patterned stone, which was initially visible even before excavations, is a natural formation. The patterns, which we initially thought to be indicative of cutting from quarrying activity, are most likely natural deterioration due to the soft and crumbly nature of the stone. This aspect of the stone is probably what made it so appealing for quarrying. Comparing this stone to that which we hit at bedrock, we can hopefully draw even more conclusions on the quarrying process in general.

Week 7 Beginning Stage: Quarry Trench 1
Week 7 Ending Stage: Quarry Trench 1

Rock Wall Debris Removal

At Alex’s behest, a small group began removing rocks and dirt from a small stretch of the stone wall, in order to assess the shape of the rock beneath, and whether there was a sharp angle, or a smoother transition from wall to ground. We chose a spot between two trees, so as to minimize root interference.

At first, our work mostly consisted of moving rocks off the topsoil to a heap below, both by hand and with shovels, which we used to excavate the topsoil, and then the richer, darker dirt below. Tree trimmers were also employed to remove some of the more rotted roots of the uprooted (and probably) dead tree on the right. A few hours of digging and moving rocks revealed a separate context: some lighter dirt beneath the surface dirt. Eventually, though, we started hitting rock, and moved from shovels to trowels and finally brushes to clear off the dirt. Although a little more time may have been nice, we were able to remove a substantial amount of the dirt and stones (leaving a fairly large pile behind).

We were able to make out the shape of the rock wall’s intersection with the ground, and although the photos don’t do it justice, I would say it looked pretty abrupt for a natural formation.

Millpond Dike (Trench 2) Excavation

As usual, a small group separated from the rest of the lab group (centered around the main Trench 1) site at the quarry and headed to Trench 2 located along the Millpond dike. Knowing that this was our last day of fieldwork, our group came to the consensus that our goal for the day was to deepen the trench as far as we could while still following responsible archaeological procedures. Upon removing the tarp, we found that the trench had been left in a state of slight disarray. The sides were uneven and there was a fair amount of debris in the form of dirt clumps in the trench itself (see Fig. 1).

As shown in Fig 1, we also came across another problem. The trench had a bottom lip (circled) that made it very difficult to continue digging down in. After consulting Alex, we made the decision to completely level the trench on the side of the lip, thereby creating more space and allowing the digging team to dig deeper with greater ease. 

After coming to this conclusion our dig team (Noah and Hannah) cleaned out and flattened the current dirt context in the trench instead of digging to another context immediately. They put the loose sediment in buckets which were then passed to the sifting team (Neil and Emmy, see Fig. 2) who would carry the buckets to the sifter and look for potential artifacts in the dirt. We dubbed this part of our excavation the “leveling context.” The finished result of the leveling context can be seen in Fig. 3.

After the completion of the leveling context, we were able to move to lower contexts. The excavation of context 4 came next, with Hannah and Noah digging quickly (see Fig. 4) in order to get as deep as possible by the end of the day. They dug nearly 6 inches below the leveling context. Some notable things in this context were that the dirt seemed heavier and richer. Whereas before, the dirt had been sandier and didn’t hold its shape very definitively, the dirt dug up to reveal context four was far more solid and we felt this change tangibly in the hauling of our buckets to the sifter. 

By the end of the excavation of Context 4, the trench was around 90 cm deep as shown in Fig. 5. The different kind of dirt is also evident in this photo: there is a stark contrast between the upper contexts and the newly dug context. Most excitingly, our first artifact came from Context 4. Emmy and Neil found a bullet casing while sifting (see Fig. 6). Noah and Hannah approximated that the casing was found around 89cm deep into the trench. We spend ample amounts of time postulating where the bullet came from. We used the writing on its sides in an attempt to garner information that could possibly tell us when it came from. We ended up learning that it had to have been made after the year 1912, which completely contradicted what we thought we knew about when the dyke had been constructed. Despite it not making complete sense, we were extremely excited about the bullet and we bagged and labeled it for further examination later on. 

We finished up our excavation of the Millpond Dike trench by uncovering a final Context: Context 5. The process was extremely similar to that of the other contexts. Another 10 inches (approximately) of sediment was removed from the trench. This dirt was even heavier and darker than the dirt from Context 4. Hannah commented on the clay-like quality of the dirt. She and Noah came across a few roots in the context that they needed to cut into. The roots contained water, yet another indication of the depth of the soil and its inherent properties. The darker, damper soil was harder to remove, which is why Context 5 was the final context that we excavated that day. We made sure to level out the ground and leave the trench with even walls and a flat base, before covering it up with a tarp (see Fig 7) 

Central Stone Quarry Excavation

The Excavation group in the center of the stone quarry moved at a slower pace and fully uncovered the cut rock face in the quarry site clearing it, we didn’t find any material evidence but cleared a site for visual inspection to show the rock had been cut and cleared rather than forming naturally.

GIS Mapping

We also used GIS mapping to create what we hope will yield a useful and scaled map of our environment. We measured the width of the dike at a few different locations. We recollected data on the location of each of the trenches. Although at times it was difficult to maintain straight lines in measuring the dike (because of brush and trees) we tried to maintain a constant distance between points and we tried to keep our measurements in straight lines. 

Week 6 (Wednesday Lab)

Sean Goodman, Scout Riley, Sachit Mallya, and Kalju Maegi


This week, we mapped a good amount of the elevated part of the quarry, going around the top and taking points periodically along the ridge (Figure 1). Getting more data about this area is crucial for this project, as it will inform us a great amount about the nature of the rock and its position in the greater landscape. After we had completed our mapping of this area, we went to the first trench (Figure 2) and took some detailed points inside of the boundaries. We then went to the Mill Pond Dike area, and took points at the four corners of the excavation area. This will add to our extensive DGPS mapping of the area, and will give a more full picture of the landscape than we could have gotten by merely observing and excavating. 

Figure 1: Sam measures precise locations using the DGPS
Figure 2: Sam and Scout use the DGPS to measure the placement and depth of L10.

Quarry Site Excavation

This week we continued to build upon the excavation done at the quarry site last week. Two of us (Dawson and Sean) started by brushing and clearing off the topsoil from Context 1 while the other (Lucile) further examined the newly uncovered Context 2. As the topsoil was being removed, more bits of glass and shard of metal were uncovered, which is nothing new. When almost all of Context 1 was cleared, what remained was bedrock as the foundation (Figure 3). Context 2, however, needs to be examined more.

Figure 3: L10 excavated, with Context 1 comprising exposed bedrock and Context 2 exhibiting excavatable soil. 

Context 2 at the NW corner of the trench appears to be a layer of sandy soil beneath the topsoil (Figure 3). It was light tan in color and surrounded by various rocks that may have been broke off pieces of bedrock. As of now it is unclear whether it’s a new soil layer entirely or just crushed bedrock. Further excavation is needed to see whether bedrock lies beneath the sandy soil or if it is something new entirely.

Finally, the group began to dig deeper into the middle of the north edge of the trench in the middle of the cross section of the suspected firepit. We decided that this section of the trench was worthy of being considered its own context because it was different from Context 1 in contents and in depth (Figure 4). The pit appears to be the deepest part of the trench and contains a healthy mix of topsoil and charcoal. It also produced some new finds. We unearthed small fragments of animal bone inside the pit. It is unclear what animal this may have been. Also, embedded in just under the ring of rocks that surround the pit, we found a large slab of wood. T was soft but still somewhat intact and not rotten or burned. We have yet to remove the wood, but this will probably be done in the next excavation session.

Mill Pond Dike Excavation

Figure 5: Spatial distribution of the two excavation sites superimposed upon a LIDAR rendering of the area.

The excavation of the Mill Pond Dike began in earnest on Tuesday with the establishment of a 1 by 1 meter trench on the side of the trench opposite the floodplain roughly 100 yards southwest of the quarry site (Figure 5). The Tuesday group excavated roughly 35 centimeters into the topsoil, revealing consistently light brown-to-brown soft sandy soil within and below the root line of surface grass and weeds (Figure 6). This topsoil was to be categorized as Context 1. The Wednesday group, consisting of four people, proceeded to systematically excavate Context 1 to reveal Context 2, which comprised a light brown, more granular sandy soil. This strata extended roughly 7 centimeters to Context 3, which comprised a rich black soil, broken up roughly 5 centimeters below by a similar light brown sandy soil to that represented in Context 2. In spite of the emergence of a new soil variant below the dark soil, however, we decided it was not to the benefit of the endeavors of the excavation to demarcate each stratigraphic layer into disparate contexts (Figure 6). Thus, the dark soil and second strata of light brown sandy soil were both delineated into Context 3. The exposure of these four strata and three contexts constituted the extent of our Wednesday excavation, reaching a depth of roughly 70 centimeters (Figure 6). 

Figure 6: (Very) Rough sketch of the stratigraphy exposed by two days’ worth of excavation at Dike Trench 1. 

The actual excavation process entailed the employment of hand shovels and trowels; the latter were used primarily in attempts to “clean” and better elucidate the vertical proportions of each context. Shovels were employed in endeavors relating to the removal of soil en masse. The soil itself was transplanted into buckets, which were subsequently carried to the sifting team–involving two of our team of four–who sifted through the soil in an ultimately vain attempt to uncover artifacts. Indeed, Wednesday lab found no artifacts in the dike trench, although Tuesday lab found a single staple, and several surface finds–such as rusted buckets, cans, and glass bottles–were visible at the site. Despite the paucity of artifacts, and inconclusivity of the soil contexts in elucidating us upon any direct relationship between the dike and the quarry site, our Wednesday excavation was not without thrilling archaeological surprises: two sizeable rocks were uncovered within Context 2, each of which likely weighing between 10 to 20 pounds and measuring roughly 20 centimeters in diameter. The significance of the presence of these rocks is very much in question, but their notability is derived from their anomalous nature. The entirety of the trench excavated hitherto, much less Context 2 itself, had exhibited soft or granular sandy soil; even pebbles or small rocks exceeding 6 centimeters in diameter were a rarity. It raises the question, too, of how they reached Context 2; one may suspect, given there is, at least at face value, no structural function of the placement of such stones so high up on the dike, that they reached Context 2 by natural processes. This is a thoroughly plausible conclusion to propose, but it is also possible they were part of the original construction of the dike. Given the unlikelihood that they were placed deliberately, this would lead one to surmise that they were placed in the dike at the same time the rest of Context 2 (and likely the surrounding contexts as well) were placed, leading one to draw assumptions relating to the construction processes employed by those who made the dike. For instance, if the soil was placed in such a way that two 15-odd pound rocks were placed concurrently, we might infer the soil was not placed by hand (individuals using shovels, for example), but rather by more macro-level means. Conjecture aside, the construction processes of the dike–and its relationship with the quarry site–will, if all goes well, be elucidated more conclusively than ever next week as we endeavor deeper towards its foundation.

Figure 7: Real-world view of stratigraphy of Dike Trench 1, looking south.

Figure 8: Another view of the stratigraphy of Dike Trench 1, looking north. 

Figure 9: Bird’s eye view of Dike Trench 1 after two days’ worth of excavation. Notice the rich, dark soil interspersed with light brown, sandy soil in Context 3 at the bottom. 

Thursday summary

The class on Thursday was initiated by a reference to public archaeology which was then followed by an articulate plan for the rest of the class. We then proceeded to summarize our findings from the lab that occurred on Wednesday. Our findings were compiled into table by Alex that looked approximately like this:

Mapping / DGPSSurvey GridMPD ExcavationTrench 1Trench 2
– Differential corrections- Post processing – 2 rows of 3- Glass + similar material- Declining density– Context 1- Context 2- 3 soil types– ½ of the trench is bedrock- Goal (to reach bedrock for the trench)– Context 1 (Topsoil)- Context 2 (lighter soil) – What is it? Cultural or not?  – Context 3 (Firepit) 
Figure 10: Digital recreation of whiteboard table curated by Alex during class discussion on Thursday

The Mapping / DGPS was accompanied by a drawing that depicted the way in which DGPS provides more accurate locations and measurements than regular GPS. Additionally, the diagram Alex drew for the MPD excavation highlighted the difference between a strata and a context. While the Trench 2 diagram specifically showed where the contexts in the trench are placed. After working on some assignments, the class was then concluded by the ideas that were presented for the final project and it was clear that the majority of the class wanted to take part in creating signage for different sites near Carleton. Hence, we were trying to figure out how to split the class equally amongst a variety of groups rather than almost the entirety of the class participating in the creation of signage. 

Week 6 (Tuesday Lab)

Noah Eckersley-Ray, Hannah Rosenberg, and Sam Zimmerman

This week, we headed to our site under clear skies. Our team split into three groups to continue work on the quarry site and begin investigating the Millpond Dike. The first group worked to extend the survey grid, adding units south and east of our original grid. The second group continued excavating Quarry Trench 1, and the third group opened a new trench in the side of the Millpond Dike.


We created 6 new survey units in two rows of three, extending beyond survey unit L10, the unit of the trash dump. We measured out 10m beyond the corners of the existing units and placed markers at the 10m and 5m marks to make our units 5m x 5m like all the others. This was a bit of a difficult task as we had to climb through many bushes and small trees. At the same time, we also took new DGPS readings from the existing unit corners so as to find more accurate readings, and then we took new coordinates of the new survey units we just created.

Once we created the new units, we began our collection process. We started in the units closest to L10, and then moved outward. At first, we found many glass shards and a few metal materials. However, the further away we got from the main trash dump, the less material we found, until there was nothing. This followed a general trend of a higher concentration pretty close to L10, and very low concentration or nothing as we spread out from the trash dump. There also was much less visibility in these new units mostly due to the many bushes and small trees with little branches that blocked not only our vision but also our access to much of the ground. It required lots of twisting and crawling.

When we did our survey of L10, the trash dump, the majority of our findings were metal cans. In these new units, while we found a few cans, most of what we collected were glass shards and a few other metal materials, like some tinfoil, a bottle cap, and a jar lid.

Quarry Trench 1

Excavation continued apace, although impeded somewhat by rocky soil and tree roots. We excavated using trowels, dustbins, and brooms, as well as using tree-trimmers to cut out roots. We removed the topsoil from half of the trench to uncover fairly smooth bedrock, although it was somewhat broken-up (Fig.4). The other half of the trench contained more loose stones, and there is still soil to remove (Fig.5). We found some hints of another soil layer, more brown and crumbly than the topsoil, and carefully tried to avoid disturbing it before all the topsoil had been removed. We sifted our soil to find one piece of glass and a small bone (Fig.6). We thought the bone looked like a vertebrae, or perhaps a knucklebone. We remain unsure whether the rocks in our trench are anthropogenic. Some of them looked to be regularly cut, but we came to the conclusion that this was due to natural processes. It was probably caused by the soft, crumbly nature of the stone and weathering.

Millpond Dike Trench 1

At the dike we set out with the broad goal of gaining a better understanding of how the dike was built as well as if the dike and the quarry are linked. The first thing we had to do was find a suitable location on the dike for the trench. Alex suggested that we dig on the downriver side of the dike, so we looked for a site on the downriver side that would be minimally impactful to foot traffic on the trail. Locating a spot for the trench was made difficult due to the amount of fallen trees, the steepness of the dike at points, and a rusted barbed fence.

Once we had found a suitable spot, we cleared the ground and marked out a one by one meter square with string and stakes. We used the troweling and shovel shaving methods in order to try and identify differences in soil composition. We shaved off the soil and filled buckets which we then sifted. Using this process, we found only one artifact a staple. By the end of lab we had dug down about 35 cm. Towards the end of lab, we received a visit from Mary Savina and Nancy Braker. Mary identified three different soil compositions and hypothesized that each layer was laid down at a different time when the dike was built. While we did learn bit about how the dike was constructed it appears as though we will need to dig deeper in order to learn whether or not there is a link between the dike and the quarry.

Week 5 (Wednesday Lab)

By Cecilia Ehrlichman, Scout Riley, and Ella Johnson


This week, the mapping group continued gathering points using the DGPS survey instrument. The group began by measuring the coordinates of the trench that was excavated by the Tuesday lab. This data will allow us to locate the trenches in relation to other geographical features. They then proceeded to the northern corner of the exterior lower ridge. The group traced the ridge, creating a line of approximately evenly spaced data points. They then reached the southernmost end of the site, making sure to surpass the surveyed area in order to gain a more complete picture of the topography of the site. The third goal of the mapping group was to collect data for the interior ridge of the site. They began at the northmost corner again and traced in a southern direction. Along this ridge, members of other groups were actively working on cleaning the rockface.

Route Taken by the Mapping Group

Having detail about the elevation for the cleaned surfaces may be helpful in answering research questions on human involvement in the formation of this landscape. The final task of the group was to begin measuring data points for the upper ridge of the site. They were able to complete about a third of this process. While the mapping group measured the coordinates on Wednesday, April 28, it will take about a week for the data to be fully processed. Once it has been returned, it will result in data that has less than a few centimeters of error. This data will create a better display of the area, which will help us address the research question about the nature of human intervention at the site.


Before picture of Cleaning Section 2

For the first excavation lab, there was a group of four that worked on cleaning the rock wall that drew us to the site in the first place, as we wanted to get a better look at it so that we can determine if the formation is manmade or natural. We split into two groups, with Connor and Bee working on Cleaning Section 1, which is adjacent to the L10 survey unit trench, and is 3 meters wide, 2 meters long, and 1 meter high, and Scout and Kalju working on Cleaning Section 2, which has the same measurements. 

Before picture Cleaning Section 1

The groups worked with trowels and brushes to clear off the dirt, moss, and debris on and around the rock so that it could be seen better. The cleaning process was not always easy, as there was a large amount of soil that had to be cleared off, and moving it off of one rock would just put it somewhere else that needed to be cleaned. As the purpose of cleaning was not to necessarily find anything, but rather to make further excavation easier, there was not really much to find other than some roots, worms, centipedes, and frogs! 

A frog found in Cleaning Area 2

In doing the cleaning, it was important to observe any features that might appear to be man-made. In the first group, they observed that there did not appear to be any drill holes in the rock, which could suggest that there was no human interaction. In the second group, there were not any noticeable signs of human activity, although they did note that there was a sloping rock with a flat top extending outwards from the rockface. This could potentially change the view of the rockface, as it could possibly be a part of a larger formation, but this would need to be investigated further. 

After picture of Cleaning Section 2
After picture of Cleaning Section1


Approximate locations of features in excavation trench 2.

This week the Wednesday lab continued the survey and excavation work at the quarry site started by the Tuesday group. This included opening a new trench in the southwestern corner of the site, cleaning off the work wall, and location tagging with the DGPS system. The excavation pit was opened in the L10 site near the large pile of cans that were cataloged by the Tuesday group. The pit was 2 meters by 1 meter. Work began by marking the corners of the box and stringing up the sides. Then we started by clearing the group cover, which was mainly sticks, leaves, and roots. In this brush, we found some plastic and metal items as well as a lot of glass. I would guess that this debris related to the other drinking paraphernalia we found near the trench. Also, we found a lot of charred wood and charcoal along the northern edge of the box closer to the center of the can pile. Once the ground was cleared, we began to move dirt with shovels, trowels, and brushes. The dirt we removed was put into buckets before we sifted through it. After a little bit of work, we uncovered a mostly smooth and flat stone that ran along the southern side of the site. We worked this stone clear with a brush to establish its boundaries. On the eastern side, the stone dropped off, and then there was a sudden change in the quality of the dirt from the rich dark soil we had been working through before to a lighter colored sandier soil. This was an exciting find, visualizing the stratification we discussed in class on Tuesday. This level would create the second context if we were to continue excavation in this trench. Clearing around the rock pile was more difficult, as the stones were easy to move and fragile. We attempted to leave rocks in place while collecting the topsoil with trowels and brushes. In pairs, we sifted soil through a wide mesh to catch similar debris we had already found on the surface. This included more glass, bottle caps, and rusted outside of cans. Before ending for the day we found a large nail, almost like a railroad tie near the rock pile. This item is especially interesting because it does not clearly connect with the drinking items found near the site. 

Excavation of this site should continue in the next few weeks, examining the second layer of dirt and the rock formations in more detail. This could give us more information about the chronology of site use and if there was mining activity before the site was used for drinking.

Week 5 (Tuesday Lab)

Hannah Rosenberg, Emmy Belloni, Sophia Heidebrecht

For this week’s lab, we learned about formation processes and excavation practices. We headed back to our quarry site, this time bringing lots of equipment for excavation. We took lots of stops along the way, trading off who had to carry the equipment. Unsurprisingly, the weather did not look great, with storm clouds quickly catching up to us. Along the way to the quarry, we made a brief stop at the Millpond Dike where Alex discussed possible excavation plans to answer our research question on its construction. There were many things to consider, including our lack in tunneling experience, how not to disturb path users, and how to avoid a soil collapse by choosing a more grassy location. After we talked through some different ideas, we continued on our way to the quarry site. Once arriving, we split into three different groups: Exploration, Excavation, and Collection.


LIDAR map of the arb, showing the features examined by the exploration team.

The exploration team was tasked with ground truthing various anomalies on the LIDAR map of the arb, recording what we found on feature forms for later reference. We began by heading in a northeastern direction to the closest feature (labelled Feature 2 on the map). It was a ditch not too far from the quarry, partially bordered by a geometric-looking rock face. One of the sides of the ditch had a circular dip in it which seemed too unusual to have happened naturally. While not as big as the quarry, we wondered if it might also have been created by human intervention, due to its proximity to the quarry and the similarities we saw with the rock face — a rock face which apparently provides a home for hibernating snakes, so further examination of this site would not be responsible. Though we found no obvious remnants of human activity other than a few stray pieces of trash, we still thought this feature, of all the features we examined, was the most likely to be human-made. 

The second LIDAR feature we examined was the large scooped out area on the northern edge of the LIDAR map (labelled Feature 1). While the steeply sloped area may have looked unusual on LIDAR, when we arrived we did not initially notice anything that seemed like it wouldn’t naturally occur. The slopes were made of a fairly soft, loose soil, and ended at a flat area which looked like it may have been flooded in the past. The feature’s topography looked to us as thought it could have been produced without any human intervention. However, there were plenty of human-made additions to the area. On the first slope we descended, we found numerous fragments of glass, including several bases of jars or bottles, which had the potential to provide identifying information such as patent numbers. Since we had not brought any collection bags, we left most of what we found in its original context, only keeping one intact bottle with us to show the group, as we thought this may have been the best example of what we found at this feature.

However, upon rounding the corner to descend the next slope, we were met with an overwhelming amount of trash. Along with glass, there were ceramic shards — including some recognizable plates, teacups, and pots — building material such as brick and cement blocks, and rusted metal waste that ranged from cans and wire to large sheeting and even what appeared to be a gutter or eavestrough. The apparent old age and sheer amount of trash scattered around the site led us to wonder whether the arb had often been used as a dump of this kind, before Carleton began to thoroughly maintain the extensive property.

We stopped by the quarry site before heading off to the other two LIDAR features which we planned to investigate. Nancy, the arb director, let us through the gate into the enclosed area which contained the next feature (Feature 3 on map). It was in a fenced-in region, as it had formerly been part of a pine plantation (and, possibly, a rat-shooting destination) and had recently been replanted with native species which had to be protected from damage done by deer. The feature itself seemed to be a flat, sparsely-grown area of sandy soil, next to a steep and overgrown slope. While we climbed the slope and looked around, we couldn’t find any signs that pointed to obvious human involvement in the feature’s creation, but may have been hindered by the thick shrubs and the inclement weather, which did not encourage us to linger. The final feature we investigated (Feature 4) was near the dike. While we wanted to investigate it to see if it might be connected to the dike itself, when we got there, all we saw was a gentle slope with plenty of trees — nothing that looked unusual for a forested area.

While we did not uncover anything that would prove helpful to our quarry investigation (the possibly-related ‘snake pit’ site should not be disturbed), we did provide ground-based data which will hopefully prevent the necessity of more long walks in the rain to discover what, exactly, is causing a certain feature to show up on a LIDAR map. The feature forms which we filled out based on what we saw should provide a helpful summary of each site so that we can easily see whether it might have useful information.


In the excavation group, we focused on the feature that Sophia and I(Emmy) noticed last week in L12: a small rock pile with what looked to be a corner-shaped row of stones off to one side. Once we all took another look at the feature in L12, we decided it would be a good location for our first dig site, Quarry Trench 1. We then laid out the border of the trench, at first 1 meter by 1 meter, and then expanding it to 1 meter by 2 meter, to make sure that we encompassed all of the feature (that we could see at that moment).

Pictured: Quarry Trench 1, before beginning the process of excavation. The top of the image is facing approximately north. Photograph by Kai.

Once the boundaries for the trench were established, we began the process of clearing away all of the leaf litter, roots and small plants within the area. Kai, Hannah Z, and Sam W began work with trowels, root cutters, brushes and a hoof pick (not exactly the tool that you would expect to see at an archaeological dig, but the smaller brush and pick ended up being extremely useful for clearing out debris within the main rock pile structure) and I made a quick sketch of the currently visible features.

Pictured: Kai, Hannah Z and Sam W removing surface debris from the Trench, better exposing the rock pile while Emmy takes notes on the Excavation Form. Photograph by Alex.
Pictured: Quarry Trench 1, ready for excavation to begin, with a 2 meter tape measure for scale. This is also a pretty clear picture of the row of stones that brought interest to this site: you can see it about ⅓ of the way down the image on the far right side. Photograph by Kai.

Once we got the surface cleared, we were ready to begin excavation. We found that alternating using the trowel to scoop away dirt and the brush to more finely clean whatever we uncovered was the best strategy, especially as we began to uncover the stone feature to the north and the east of the stone pile. The mud made the brushes a bit less effective than they probably could have been, but in the end they did a very good job of exposing the stones. Around 3cm deep at most, we found a series of fairly large rocks that seemed to be embedded in the ground, which I would describe as similar to a stone path or maybe floor. As we worked clearing away the dirt around this new feature, we used dust pans to transfer the topsoil to buckets, in case there were any small artifacts that we missed as we dug.

Pictured: Sam W, Hannah Z and Emmy, excavating Quarry Trench 1. The stone feature mentioned above can be seen along the left and top side of the trench. Photograph by Kai.

Unfortunately we didn’t get that much time to excavate, and soon we had to wrap up and prepare to head back. We cleaned the mud off our tools, and most importantly, used the ¼” mesh sieve to sort through the soil that we removed from the trench. This process resulted in us finding a singular piece of glass that we would otherwise have missed, which we took back to the lab to bag, label, and leave to dry. The dirt and other rubble from the sieve were deposited in L13, since we will likely return to this site next week and therefore did not need to backfill the trench.

Pictured: Emmy pours soil removed from Quarry Trench 1 into the sieve while Sam W shakes it. Photograph by Kai.

Once we finished sifting through the removed soil and depositing it in L13, we packed up our tools and headed back to the lab, where I had the task of copying the contents of our documentation form to a slightly less soggy and only a little bit muddy one, and ensuring that our singular find was properly bagged and labelled.

Pictured: An aspiring archaeologist eagerly using our equipment. Photograph by Kai.


Sorted materials: plastic at bottom, metal in middle, and glass in bags at top left

The collection group focused on survey unit L10, the location of the trash dump filled with rusted cans and broken glass. We decided to collect everything we could, separating them into different piles based on materials. These piles were plastics, metals, and glass. Majority of the artifacts were pretty visible on the surface; however, once we cleared those away, we found much more hidden under leaves, dirt, plants, logs, and stones. The weather was rainy which made the ground very muddy and even harder to work with.

After spending a considerable amount of time collecting as much as we could, we moved on to sorting our large piles. There were only a couple plastics, so we just counted them up and placed them into a bag. The glass shards filled up two bags, however were very sharp, and so we decided to leave them uncounted for now. We found an elastic fabric strap that we classified as “other” and also placed in a bag. Finally, we had to deal with all of the metal we found.

We decided to first sort based on whether or not we could find any sort of distinguishable mark on the can through the layers of rust and dirt encrusted on, creating two piles for each of us: identifiable and non-identifiable. At this time, we also sorted out the non-can metals, including some tinfoil, bottle caps, and pull-tabs. We counted these up and placed them into their own bag. Once we finished sorting the cans, we began another sort within the identifiable group. With some cans, we were able to read the label. With others, we used the writing on the top of the can to distinguish different types, even if we weren’t sure what those types were.

Sorting cans

Eventually, we ended up with 11 different groups. Finally, we counted them all up, finding the total number of cans (identifiable and non-identifiable) and the total number of each group (see Survey Unit L10 Form page 2). Our piles were significantly large, so we decided to take a representative sample of each group rather than bringing every single piece back to the lab. Even though we chose the best can, we took pictures of our piles to show the wide range of conditions we found them in. We brought all of our samples back to the lab, labelled our bags, and filled out the survey unit form to keep track of all of our data.

Survey Unit L10 Form page 1
Sorted piles of identifiable cans into different types
Survey Unit L10 Form page 2

Week 4 (Wednesday Lab)

Lucille Baker-Stahl, Dawson Eriksen, Connor Jansen

Class Summaries

In class on Tuesday, we discussed social complexity and our assignment for the week, which was to find campus examples of social complexity in the material record. We discussed Elman Service’s four-fold classification of societies, which we read about in our textbook. The classification moves up in complexity from mobile hunter-gatherer groups to segmentary societies to chiefdoms to states. Many students took issue with the classification based on its developmental teleology, which seemed to envision states as the end goal of societies. Connected to the concept of a state are issues about polity, territory, community, identity, and institutional authority. Despite these problems, the scale gives a helpful, general overview of complexity and hierarchy as societies grow and change their organizational structure. We then talked about social complexity on campus and where different factors might be represented. A couple examples include Laird Stadium, which indicates the cultural importance of athletics and the leisure activity of spectating events, and Skinner Memorial Chapel, which has immovable pews and indicates regular social gatherings focused on the raised platform at the north end.

Before we left for the Arb on Wednesday, we discussed what we need to consider about a site to approach its survey with the most appropriate techniques and research questions, including the site’s basic physical aspects like size and characteristics, its function, how it’s changed over time, and its local context and interactions with the surrounding area. We also discussed considerations regarding the collection of artifacts, including resource limitations (e.g. money, time, effort, storage, etc.), diagnosticity (some artifacts are more informative than others), and the importance of recording artifact locations and collecting ethically.

In class on Thursday, we discussed ways to refine the extent of the quarry site, such as looking for a dropoff in artifact distribution and defining natural boundaries. We also discussed object biographies, particularly for the parts of cans and bottles we found in abundance at the site, and focusing on questions about the consumption and deposition stages of their lifespans to refine our understanding of the quarry site’s function. In relation to those objects, we also discussed refining chronology through artifact analysis and getting a better understanding of connections and interactions by considering the sources of the bottles and cans and investigating the labor history of the site. Alex showed us LiDAR data for the area and pointed out some nearby areas that look similar to the quarry site and provide exciting possibilities for further exploration and refinement of our investigation’s scope.

Lab Survey

Since the Tuesday lab started the survey process, we came in on the second day of surveying. In total we were able to survey 8 quadrants and found a variety of artifacts, mostly glass. Most of the glass we found was quickly identified as parts of bottles for alcoholic beverages. We paid extra attention to the various rock concentrations during our surveys because we are focused on confirming or denying our hypothesis that this feature was once a quarry. This focus may result in some bias as other features of equal importance may have been overlooked.

Going into specific data analysis of the 8 survey units surveyed during the lab period, two showed a relatively high density of diagnostic artifacts, three showed a medium density of diagnostic artifacts, and three showed little to no presence of diagnostic artifacts (See Figures 1 and 2). The main reason for the absence of artifacts found in J12 and J13 is likely due to the units positions on relatively steep slopes. These slopes would likely create a decrease in artifacts for two reasons. The first is that their steepness would make them an unlikely spot for artifacts to be deposited because people would be unlikely to spend an extended amount of time on the slope area when there is a flat area nearby. The second reason is that the steepness of the slopes would likely disturb artifacts on them, making artifacts more mobile and likely to slide down and not rest on the slopes over a scale of years and decades.

Figure 1. Summary of finds by survey unit
Figure 2. Concentration of finds by survey unit on schematic map of survey area
Map of the site with survey units

In terms of what this data can tell us about past usage of the area, the majority of finds occurred in K10 and K11 with a radiating decrease in finds in the adjacent squares. Although this analysis is incomplete due to the lack of data on rows I and L, the concentration of artifacts in K10 and K11 indicates that there was one specific area that was more used and had more artifacts deposited in it than the surroundings. This area as of right now is not bounded and its extent is still unknown, however one corner of it is likely to be K11 given how the two adjacent survey units surveyed show a significant decrease in artifacts compared to K10 and K11.

From the surveying we were able to do, we have found a large amount of glass. Aside from glass, there was a significant amount of metal and a marginal amount of plastic found as well. This leads us to believe that the waste found here is predominantly related to recreational activities involving alcohol, however, further analysis of sketches and the distribution of stones matching the rock feature may elucidate early functions of the area. We look forward to continuing survey work and hope to find new ways of exploring this site.

Lab Mapping

Another component of the lab was for a small group to begin the process of GPS mapping the site in order to create a detailed topographic map of the area. This was done using a handheld GPS device which once set up, was able to repeatedly ping and record its location and elevation to within a few centimeters. The first goal of the GPS mapping team was to collect the points of all the flags marking out the survey units. In the process, we learned about the difficulties of recording information and identifying points within a grid of labeled squares. This is because each point can be touching up to four different squares at any given time so it is necessary to record not just which square any given point belonged to, but also which corner of that unit it was. A map of all points taken can be seen in Figure 3.

Figure 3. Map of GPS points collected
Mapping coordinates with the differential GPS
Measuring out a potential new survey unit for next week

After the primary goal of collecting information about the survey units was accomplished, the GPS mapping team moved on to beginning the collection of points needed to create a full topographic profile of the site. They began in a systematic way with the elevated wall at the  bottom of the quarry face. The goal of the group was not just to collect the general boundaries of the wall, but also to map all the cuts and corners in the wall. This was done with the end goal of creating a map which accurately shows the human cut nature of the wall due to the unnaturally flat faces and sharp corners which would not be likely to form in such quantities under natural processes.

Although the GPS mapping group was unable to finish the task of mapping the lower wall by the end of the lab period, their future goals are to finish mapping the lower wall and then to move on to the upper area of the quarry so as to record the main quarry face. After the mapping of the quarry face, they would also like to go and map the extent of the slope because the survey units do not fully cover the slope and ground surface below it.

The GPS data currently collected of the survey unit boundaries and the bottom wall were intended to be processed and corrected for the height of the GPS device by Alex and the TAs before the end of the week. However, it appears to have proven more difficult than expected and as of this write up is still an ongoing task.

Week 4 (Tuesday Lab)

Hannah Zhukovsky, Becca Riess, and Neil Givens

For the lab this week we explored the archaeological method of gridded collection. Though Alex had planned for us to continue to work on the farmhouse site from last week, members of the class requested that we instead survey a quarry in the lab. However, we weren’t entirely sure where exactly the quarry was located, or even if there would be any surface material to collect. With the assistance of LIDAR technology we identified two main areas where the quarry may have been located, so we decided to go to the possible quarry locations to ground truth. Before we left, we formulated research questions: Is this a quarry? What is the function? What surface artifacts are present at the site? What is the occupational history/chronology of the site? What is the size of the site? How did activity at this site interact with other known sites in the region?

After a brisk walk through the arb, we found the site––a shallow pit surrounded by a ridge that we were unsure if it was manmade or not. When we arrived, we formulated a general site plan: our first step was to determine the perimeter of the site. Alex assigned one group to walk around the area and take note of various features of the landscape, noting specifically what parts looked like they had been modified by people (anthropogenic) in order to create a map of the area and gauge the size of the site. The rest of us were tasked with laying out a survey grid. In order to do this, we established a point zero––a fixed point where we can grow our grid around. We chose a rock resting adjacent to the ridge as a point zero (Figure 2), and then started to lay out a north-south line and a east-west line to serve as the x and y axis. There was some difficulty getting the lines straight because there were a considerable number of trees and branches that kept on getting caught on the line (as pictured in Figures 3 and 4). Additionally, parts of the site were quite sloped, resulting in distortions in the lengths of the squares if they were to be viewed from above. Afterward, we delineated the survey units, which were to be 5×5 m each. We extended a 5 meter line parallel to the north-south line and laid out a column of 4 rows to cover the whole 20×20 meter area. 

Figure 1: Image of the map of the site including grid lines and survey units.

Figure 2: Image of the rock used as our point zero (datum)

Figure 3: (left) Image of laying out north-south and east-west lines

Figure 4: (right) Image of laying out parallel grid lines

Next, we began collecting and recording our finds from each square. L10 was the first square next to our point zero, which had the most visible surface artifacts. The area appeared to be a trash pit or old fire ring, with a smattering of beer, Coca Cola, and other cans around the area (pictured in figures 5 and 6). Alex instructed us to wait to collect the surface finds in this quadrant and instead take photos that can be used to build a photogrammetric model of the site. At the end of the lab, we had collected from 3 grid squares, leaving L10 for later. We felt that we had a good sense of the scale of the site, set up a baseline to get the overall orientation of the site so we are able to get better details in future labs. In addition, we discovered a rock structure built into the ground in one of the quadrants. This suggests that the area was not simply used as a location for a party, but that it has a deeper past of human use. The rock structure was essentially the outline of a square built into the ground, and the use was not apparent.

While we still have not found any direct evidence of quarrying, we were successful in regards to some of our other research questions. The location and size of the site were established, with most of the archaeological evidence being confined to the top of the cut out of the cliff. We also found evidence of the site having a significant chronology, with multiple events throughout history visible at the site. In the future, we are considering conducting research at the neighboring Waterford Mill site, to see if we can match stone from the possible quarry with the stone at the mill. We are also planning on continuing the collection of artifacts at the site, until we have collected all of the surface evidence. After this, we may selectively excavate some of the site if we find reason to. It is also likely that we will consult the documentary record to see if we can find mention of a quarry in the area.

Survey UnitTeam MembersPlastic Count/CollectedGlass Count/CollectedMetal Count/CollectedTotalNotes
L13MJ & Noah0
L11Kai & Ben73.5 10.5
L12Sophia & Emmy156Also found rock formation

Figure 5: Some of the beer cans and other artifacts visible from the surface in grid L10

Figure 7: Metal artifacts collected in grid square L11

Figure 9: Glass artifacts collected in grid square L11

Figure 6: Some of the beer cans and other artifacts visible from the surface in grid L10

Figure 8: Metal artifacts collected in grid square L11

Figure 10: Glass artifacts collected in grid square L11

Figure 11: Example of a rock wall at the site, where it is unknown if quarrying took place or not.

Figure 12: Map showing rough area of site in the Carleton Arboretum

Week 3 (Wednesday Lab)

Sachit Mallya, Sean Goodman, Lucille Baker-Stahl

To start the week, the class was introduced to Scotti Norman, candidate for an archaeological teaching position here at Carleton College. She introduced us to her work as an archaeologist in the Andes Mountains of South America, specifically Peru. Much of our discussion revolved around the ethical aspects of her work and how she strives to conduct her work to learn more about ancient civilizations in the Andes Mountain region. This included how to work with natives, battling superstitions, respecting the dead and relics, and processes of excavating and moving artifacts for study. Following our visit with Scotti, Professor Knodell returned to the class to talk about our Google Tours/3D Mapping assignment. We were tasked with observing a historical site on Google Earth and observing what we notice about the site. Among the common themes was the issue of perspective. Observing the sites from the ground produced very different perspectives about the site than satellite imagery. A different perspective allows us to see different features not visible up close, the overall structure of the target site, and the relationship the site has with the environment. This led to the introduction of LiDAR imagery. Professor Knodell explained its significance and how it helps archaeologists develop another perspective by looking at elevation rather than color images.

The Tuesday lab conducted an archaeological survey in one of the fields in the arb. The survey consisted of two teams, each with a team leader to mark out survey areas spanning 50m by 100m. Inside each survey area were the other team members spaced 10m apart, walking in straight lines and surveying the surface of the ground to see if there were any objects to collect. Once materials were collected by the walkers, these items were recorded and sorted into labeled bags according to their categories. This process was repeated a total of three times. The Tuesday lab found mostly trash and debris from a farmhouse, far different results from the Wednesday lab group.

On Wednesday 3/14, we went out in the arb in order to practice what we learned about and put in practice what we knew of surveying. Specifically, the class of 10 was split into two groups of 5 with each group having 4 walkers and 1 leader to manage the walkers and record what they found. Each group, from henceforth called either group C or group D in order to respect the groups A and B of the Tuesday lab and mitigate confusion, surveyed a total of 3 50 M by 100 M survey units in transects with each walker spaced 10 M apart and expect to record or collect relics for a 2 M stretch around them (See 3/14 Survey units). This resulted in a total of 6 survey units called C01-C03 and D01-D03, with C01 being the Southeasternmost survey unit and D03 being the Northwesternmost survey unit. 

The area surveyed was the eastern edge of the cornfield directly to the east of the baseball fields and to the west of the driving range (See 3/14 Full survey area graphic). In the field, this area was estimated to be close to 30,000 M2 with a slightly smaller area due to D03 being unable to survey a debris mound in the Northwestern corner of the survey unit. This was determined by having the each team leader count out 100 M lengths for each survey unit by determining the length of their paces and extrapolating to accurately judge the length. However; when the known start and end points of the survey area were plotted on Google Earth, the total length of the area surveyed was determined to be over 400 M, more than an entire survey unit off of what was expected. We believe that this is due potentially to outdated satellite imagery from Google Earth, with the most recent images of the area dating from 2017 resulting in our endpoints actually being incorrect. The main points used to determine the end of the area in map view were the southernmost edge of the field, and the point where D03 had to stop surveying due to the debris mound. We believe that the Southern end of the field did in fact not change, making the debris mound the source of confusion with its size being many times larger than what is shown on Google Earth. 

After surveying the area, all relics were collected and categorized based on their material and the survey units in which they were found (See attached spreadsheet of objects). From the objects found, two notable conclusions were made about the area and it’s material record. The first was that the debris mound and the modern construction creating it were leaving a tangible record in terms of collecting together relics along with the felled trees and dirt that made up the mound with many settling down to the flat area around the mound. This is reflected in the unusually high number of objects found in unit D03 which bordered on the mound, and how they were of a more diverse material composition compared to relics found in the other survey units (See attached spreadsheet and 3/14 Survey units by total relics collected graphic). The second conclusion we reached was that the driving range across the road from the field was leaving a tangible legacy on the material record of the surrounding area including the field we surveyed. This was determined by the unusually high density of golf balls found and collected within the survey along with the especially high density of golf balls in C02, the unit closest to the range (See 3/14 Survey units by golf balls collected graphic). 

Among the objects collected, there was one anomaly which we were not able to find an explanation for. That was the presence of small white marine shells found in survey units D02 and D03. We were unable to determine the full scope of the presence of the shells because there was still the majority of the field left unsurveyed to the east of the units which contained the shells; however even the small presence of shells we collected could potentially tell a tale of the area. Because the shells were from animals that would not naturally occur in the area, and there were no signs of lithification, we believe that they are a relic left behind by humans in the area in the recent past. They showed unusually low amounts of damage and fracture for such delicate objects making them unlikely to have been around for more than a few years if even that long. The current hypothesis for their presence is their use of decoration at some sort of sea or beach themed event; however, there is no presently known record of such an event taking place in the area. 

Figure 1: A map of the full survey area
Figure 2: The survey area split into individual survey units
Figure 3: The survey unit map split by the number of general findings 
Figure 4: The survey unit map split by the number of golf ball findings 
Figure 5: Table displaying the number and type of objects found per survey unit 

Figure 6: Table displaying the number and type of
objects found per survey unit (continuation)

On Thursday, we were provided with the opportunity to ask Sarah Anne Kennedy (a candidate for an archaeological teaching position at Carleton) about her fieldwork experience and what she would be able to add to Carleton’s archaeology department. She eloquently explained her extensive knowledge of soil chemistry and her lengthy stint in Peru to study the population’s lifestyle during the Colonial period. After coming to Carleton, she hopes that she will be able to expand the Mediterranean-focused archaeology to include North and South American archaeology as well. Her first-hand experience with teaching in colleges and her endeavors across the Americas will certainly be an asset that Carleton could benefit from. 

Once the virtual visit from Sarah was complete, everyone proceeded to head to the archaeology classroom in Anderson Hall for the second half of class. Alex started with a lab recap for both Tuesday and Wednesday. During the Tuesday Lab, we established that there used to be some sort of building in that area through some helpful LiDAR data and the common occurrence of brick findings in that area. For the Wednesday lab, we concluded that it used to be a corn-field due to the abundance of dried maize spread throughout the field. Additionally, we didn’t find anything of interest, however, there were numerous golf balls spread throughout the eastern area of the field. This wasn’t a surprising discovery since the golf balls can be attributed to the driving range that resides past the highway on the eastern side of the field. To conclude the recap, we determined that all this information would be most valuable to people who would want to ascertain the land’s agricultural prospects and the value of the land to sell at a later date. 

After the recap, Alex showed the contrast in the old and new world archaeological approaches through his captivating fieldwork experience. With these examples, he further displays the different styles of surveys one might have to use according to the terrain and the environment. This was a good transition for a discussion revolving around the environmental constraints and the affordances that archaeologists have to consider during fieldwork. Some of these environmental constraints we conjured during the discussion include seasonality, weather, topography, accessibility, etc. Once we got a better grasp on the environmental constraints, we moved on to understanding the different elements of survey design. Alex showed a real-life example of how his team used Google Earth Pro to create LiDAR flight paths in Euboea to get a better insight into The Lelantine War that occurred in that region. The demonstration was very helpful and interesting as it gave us an opportunity to understand how mapping is done in a real archaeological setting.  Towards the end of the class, we tried to finalize an area for our archaeological survey next week as we would need to prepare for more mapping next week. 

Figure 7: Wednesday lab going through the field to find objects
Figure 8: A sample of survey bags from the survey conducted on the field

Figure 9: Alex and Sean going through the survey unit forms

Figure 10: The Wednesday lab group coming together to discuss the findings 

Week 3 (Tuesday Lab)

Kairah Foster, Emery John, Hannah Zhukovsky, Sam Zimmerman

The focus of this week’s lab was getting a sense of ground surveying and the techniques that go into doing it well. There are several aspects of surveying that ensure accurate quantifiable results, and most importantly, create a context for surface finds.

Before we headed into the field, we examined aerial images of the area, using Google Earth images and LiDAR scans. We were able to identify a potentially worthwhile location where we saw anomalous geometric patterns that looked similar to other known sites, like the Women’s League Cabin. We tentatively identified this location with a farm house that we knew used to stand in that field. With this information in hand, we gathered our supplies and headed into the snow.


The field we were surveying was of known agricultural use. Since being plowed several years ago, the field has been overgrown with thick grass which obstructs almost all ground visibility. That, coupled with the unusual weather conditions made finds, especially of smaller items that are less likely to poke up through the grass, exceedingly rare. 

           We segmented the field as shown in the image to the left. Two teams (A and B) split the field vertically. We lined up parallel to Spring Creek Road, and walked in lines perpendicular to it, facing towards the West. Each team’s complete survey consisted of three smaller areas. Both teams in all three units of the survey walked from east to west, or, in archaeological language, with a bearing of 270°. Each area was approximately 100 meters in length, with the exception of B03 and the very south western corner of A03, where both are truncated due to a wheat field. In total, the teams surveyed roughly 27000 square meters of ground. Unit section B03 is cut short due to a wheat field impeding on the survey area. B03 is not the expected 50 by 100 meter area, such as all of the previous survey units. The final western boundary, of section B03, is a curve that cuts off what would have been a 100 meter transect. This could have some implications for measuring the potential density of the field, but probably not due to the fact that almost every artifact was found in unit A01.

General Sketch of our Area to be surveyed

           The field sloped quite a bit. A01 and A02 constituted the top of a small hill which made its way down through B01-3. The slopes within the field did have an effect on line spacing and consistencies; some surveyors did find it tricky maintaining a straight line. 

             Maintaining as close to accurate distancing throughout the survey is crucial. In order to do so in a timely manner, each surveyor measures their strides against a twenty meter measuring strip, and divides by two to find an accurate personal number of strides/ten meter ratio. That process ideally was completed many times to ensure an accurate median average. Then, each surveyor can be trusted to measure their own two meter sections, maintaining the grid as shown above. This method is not perfect, especially in a sloped environment that can make stride lengths inconsistent. However, it tends to average out over the course of the units. Flagging tape was used in each corner of each unit to mark out the sectors. The units are kept to ten meters by one hundred meters maximum to ensure accuracy.  After each unit, the surveyors came together to discuss and tally their finds, based on type, i.e. brick, glass, or ceramic. Then the surveyors, using the flagging tape for reference, reconvene, reposition, correct their distances from each other, which ensures a fairly consistent grid, and begin the next unit. The longer the distance, the more likely variance is to occur, so repositioning after every 100 meter survey unit, is a correcting measure. Consistent measurements are crucial for determining context for artifacts and density for units. 

Team member L to RDistance walked (m)ceramictile/bricklithicsmetalplasticglassothernotes
Josh254B02: Iwire
Sophia270B01: IB01: 1 Concrete (not, too large)
Hannah280B01: IB01: 1 Concrete (not bagged, too large)
Emmy290A01: IA01: 6A01: 1
Sawyer300 A01: 4A01: 1A01: 5 concrete
Hannah300A01: 2A01:21A01: IA01: 7A01: 1 Rubber
Neil300A01: 5A01: 4 concrete
Hanah/Kairah300 (split)A01: 6A01: 2A01: 6 tiles or concrete 
Noah300A01: 9A01: 1
Data and Results: this table combines the finds from all six sections, taking into account the regions of original discovery

The vast majority of the finds were in A01. There were especially high quantities of tile and brick found, which is consistent with expectations and intuitions based on records and information of a since destroyed structure or farm house on that portion of the field. A good deal of assorted concrete was also found in A01 and (northern) B01, which further reinforced the hypothesized location of the farmhouse. There were few ceramic findings which perhaps point to a more modern and recent structure with modern trash disposal systems in place. 

In the up and coming lab, we will presumably analyze the finds and thus complete that vital aspect of the survey, which looks at the finds without the potential biases that location on site and in the moment can provide. 

The image above, as well as those below are meant to portray the very much varying weather conditions over the course of the survey. They also serve to display the density of the grass, making the ground visibility very poor almost all the way throughout. 

Above: The weather was overcast and snowy, with a surprise hail at one point. The unusual conditions were far from what we were expecting! The snow made it hard to accurately survey at times, as our hands felt frozen and numb from the cold. This did have a slight effect on visibility; when the snow was falling its heaviest, it was hard to see. But most times, group members did not have the physical ability to expose more of the ground due to the difficulty and harshness of our working environment and weather conditions. This image is looking due east, towards the initial starting point, parallel to the road. This also conveys the initial surveying line with the roughly ten meter spacing consistent throughout. 

Above: before beginning the survey of the second unit, the snow subsided, giving way to simply overcast, yet cold conditions. However, the grass was much  more dense in this section, worsening ground visibility. This image is looking due west, the direction in which all surveyors proceeded throughout each unit. 

By the time the surveyors began on unit 3, the snow had come to an end and the sun was out, nonetheless, us surveyors were still freezing. 

This image depicts Group A’s ample finds.

Image of Group A beginning to field walk.    A picture of a wire found by Group B.  

Overall, mostly in hindsight, the lab was a great experience, and the class got a valuable induction into what a general transect ground survey goes like. During the survey, students learned how to space out and divide the survey into units, and how to survey each unit accordingly. The class learned how to fill out survey forms, including things such as bearing in degrees, sketches, visibility, tallies of findings and bags, and other information. Students learned to make correlations between the materials found, where they were found, and what that relays about the history and occupancy of the space in previous times. And what felt most important, especially in the moment, the class obtained first person experience with the significance of weather conditions and environment type on survey findings. In that, not only was it difficult at times to maintain group morale, but due to harsh working environments, some things were most likely overlooked. Nonetheless, the class soldiered through about three hours of surveying which lent the experience of genuine hands on archaeological operations and methods. The class found some pretty neat things, and had a pretty cool time (literally) while doing it!

Here are some more pictures from our finds and snowy adventure:

Week 2 (Wednesday Lab)

Connor Jansen and Kalju Maegi 

On Tuesday this week, we had the privilege of talking with Gina Buckley, a job candidate for Carleton’s archaeology department, about her research, pedagogy, and desire to teach at Carleton. Her work in Mesoamerican migration and isotope analysis of human skeletal remains to determine ancient diets was very interesting, as were her ideas about new classes at Carleton regarding North American and Mexican archaeology and the ethics of archaeological fieldwork. After Gina’s virtual visit we discussed the results of our garbology assignments and the objects of study in archaeology. Our discussion revolved around two questions: What does material culture tell us about the past? What work does material culture do in society? We thought about the relationship between objects and the people who use them and pondered whether objects are active agents in social relationships. These questions were challenging but will doubtlessly come up again as we continue our study of archaeology.

This week’s lab constituted a tour of the Cowling Arboretum. Our guides included director of the arboretum Nancy Braker, who provided both a general history of the arb and predicated much of the information she presented upon an ecological perspective, and of course Alex and Sam, who were able to offer valuable archaeological insight throughout the course of the tour. We encountered several archaeological sites along the tour, including sites of previous excavation and those yet to be subjected to any recorded and/or systematic fieldwork. The multi-sited nature and interdisciplinary framework of the tour stimulated with efficacy a holistic comprehension of the archaeological history of the arboretum, serving as an ideal introduction to the term, as well as the “what” and “where” of our impending fieldwork. 

We began our tour at the arboretum office to the immediate northeast of campus. After Nancy introduced herself, we proceeded north-northeast toward the ruins of the 19th-century Waterford Mill (fig. 2 & 3)–at which Alex, Sam, and MJ conducted archaeological fieldwork in 2019–on the Cannon River via an elevated dike (fig. 1). The latter feature was of note not only for its size and importance to the mill, but its prominence in the landscape and the archaeological relevance therein; while only faintly visible from a bird’s eye perspective on Google Earth or a conventional cartographic representation of the landscape, the dike provides a quintessential example of a site conducive to the employment of Lidar. Moreover, it is yet to be subject to a systematic archaeological excavation, marking it as a potential site for future fieldwork from which the archaeologist could elucidate themselves upon the processes through which the dike–and, by extension, other contemporaneous dikes and similar structures in the region–was constructed. 

Fig. 1: A footpath now lies upon a late 19th century dike running perpendicular with the Cannon River, meeting the water where the Waterford Mill once stood.
Fig. 2: Site of the former dam at Waterford Mill. The dike noted above meets the river at this point.
Fig. 3: A concrete remnant of the dike for the Waterford mill. The Cannon River is visible in the background and the slope leading down to the left indicates the dike’s height.

After discussing the mill and dike, we moved south back along the dike before diverting to a quarry site (fig. 4). Characterized by an abundance of discarded cans and bottles, the site has obviously been subject to human activity since it ceased operations as a quarry (fig. 5). Once again, the site’s history is devoid of archaeological activity, making it another candidate for future archaeological fieldwork. Such an endeavor has potential to reveal distribution networks of lithic resources in late 19th century Rice County (assuming the quarry was in use during this period) through the complimentary employment of both archival and geoarchaeological analysis, in addition to general quarrying processes.

Fig. 4: Wall face of a probable quarry site. Relatively geometric cuts in the material indicate human activity.
Fig. 5: Old metal cans and a bucket or pail at the site of a probable quarry. The mossy rocks surrounding the metal refuse could be small pieces blown off by dynamite.

We subsequently ventured to the northeastern edge of the arboretum, culminating at Waterford Bridge (fig. 6), built in 1909 (fig. 7) and now closed to traffic. Next, we proceeded south to the Women’s Cabin (fig. 8 & 9). Interestingly, both the Tuesday and Wednesday lab group encountered (presumably) Northfield residents at the site (fig. 10); further, in each instance, the individuals in question seemed to have ventured to the site in an endeavor for isolation. It could be said, then, that the site occupies a sort of juxtaposition between publicity and seclusion; it is somewhat paradoxically widely recognized as a destination to be alone, or at the very least isolated from authority. This dynamic between people and space is not far removed from the original functions of the Women’s Cabin itself, when female Carls desired a space that was undeniably for a collective–albeit a concentrated one–yet removed from the male-dominated general student population. The site was subject to fieldwork conducted by Carleton in 2015, but an updated survey may prove interesting, particularly as the site has experienced a high degree of traffic in the years since its excavation. 

Fig. 6: The Waterford bridge in the northeastern corner of the Lower Arb. The bridge was built in 1909 by the Hennepin Bridge Company and is closed to use today.
Fig. 7: Epigraphic description of the Waterford Bridge, including its year of construction and commissioner. 
Fig. 8: The path leading to the Women’s League Cabin site in the Lower Arb. The remains of stone steps and stones framing the approach can be seen.
Fig. 9: The most conspicuous remnants at the Women’s Cabin site is this former fire pit.
Fig. 10: Directly adjacent to the Women’s Cabin site, the fresh wood in the fire barrel, recently picked flowers at the base of the tree (center, background), freshly cut inscription in the tree, and abraded dirt ground speak to the site’s continued use.

After we finished our discussion of the Women’s Cabin site, we turned back southwest. On the way, we stopped at a cornfield, the former site of a farmhouse. Apparent roof tiles, brick fragments, and pieces of concrete were visible on the surface, likely brought up from the ground by processes during the winter freeze and spring thaw. Our tour concluded just to the east of Goodhue Hall at the site of the former World War II veterans’ village, otherwise known as Pine Hill Village. Excavated by Carleton in 2017, the site housed World War II veterans and their families as they attended classes at the college. Much of the site lies on what is now a heavily trafficked sporting field, rendering a more thorough excavation relatively unviable. 

The arboretum tour was of genuine value, if anything as a member of the Carleton community let alone as an archaeology student. Alex, Nancy and Sam provided us with a succinct yet thorough overview of the history of the arboretum, while also guiding us through a handful of potential fieldwork sites, giving added pertinence to the excursion. In short, the tour set the foundation for informed archaeological fieldwork later in the term.

On Thursday, we recapped our adventures in the Arb and started talking about documentary archaeology, which combines archaeological findings with documentary records (including pictures, textual sources, and oral histories) to enrich our understanding of the material culture under investigation. Our assignment for the week was to research a place of historical and archaeological interest in or around Northfield, and we spent part of class talking about what we learned and contemplating how to engage with the documentary record for these sites. Common places included buildings on Carleton’s campus, historical buildings in Northfield like the Archer House and the First National Bank, and mills in the Cannon River Valley. In thinking about documentary archaeology in relation to our local sites, we learned about digital and physical archives and common locations in which we could find helpful textual and visual sources like libraries, museums, government offices, and local historical societies and institutions.

Week 2 (Tuesday Lab)

Noah Eckersley-Ray, Emmy Belloni, & Hana Horiuchi

For our Week 2 lab, we bravely ventured into the Arb with MJ as our guide, with the goal of visiting several of the spots of archaeological significance, particularly those investigated during the previous instances of this class. This lab consisted of a lot of walking and getting to know our classmates as we began to further expand our idea of what archaeology on Carleton’s campus has looked like in the past and will look like for us in the future.

Our first stop was the Waterford Mill Site, located along the Cannon River. As we learned in previous readings for the course, the Northfield area was a hotspot for milling, thanks to the presence of the river. This particular site is one of two mills in the area. It consisted of both a mill and a dam, and operated from 1874 to 1905. We were able to see some of the remaining structures, most of which were made from stone. We briefly discussed the nature of the 2019 dig at the site, notably the fact that while parts of the structure are in the river, the dig was entirely on land.

We briefly paused to admire the Waterford Bridge from afar and take a much-needed break. The bridge is one of the oldest bridges still in use in the area since many of the other historic bridges have been demolished due to the fact that they were unsafe. While the road now goes over a newer bridge, the old Waterford Bridge is still open to foot traffic.

Waterford Bridge

Our third stop was the Women’s League Cabin. The cabin stood on the eastern edge of the Lower Arb and was built in 1938-1939. We made our way to the sign describing the cabin and were told about the cabin’s history on campus. At first, the cabin served as a retreat for female students to get away from campus life; then, in the 1970s the Outings/Natural History Club took over control of the cabin which then served as a spot that students could reserve for various events. In the late 1990s, the cabin was destroyed. Gone but not forgotten the archaeology methods class excavated the cabin in 2015. After learning about the cabin we ventured into the woods to see the actual location of the cabin.

Moving on from the Women’s League Cabin we crossed into the Upper Arb to Nelson Farm behind the Hill of Three Oaks. After a break, MJ told us about the different field walking methods that we will deploy this term. While we didn’t actually do any field walking we were able to envision what it would look like. 

On our way out of the arb, we stopped at the site of Pine Hill Village, a Carleton-installed housing complex for returning World War II veterans and their families. We learned that the village was built behind the current Goodhue Hall in 1946 and consisted of 46 housing units. Once there was no more use for the complex, the houses were sold to a real estate company in 1955 and torn down. Although very little physical evidence of this complex remains, we were able to see a few scattered green poles (as seen in the images below) which mark the location of the houses.

We finished our tour in the Archaeology Lab located in Anderson Hall. Here, we were met with artifacts collected from previous excavations of the sites we visited on our walk (as seen in the images below). It was interesting to see tangible evidence of these sites in use, and looking at the labeled artifacts in the lab gave us insight into the process of labeling and organizing that comes after excavation.