Excavation Process Overview and Methods:
We utilized two methods of excavation during our fieldwork: digging trenches and digging shovel test pits. Specifically, we dug three trenches and fourteen shovel test pits.
Trenches entailed marking out a precise border square, denoted by stakes and a string border. Once the trench’s perimeter was established, actual soil removal began. We next divided each trench into contexts, or naturally or culturally-defined areas in which we dug. The first context in each trench was the area directly under the topsoil, including the various plants and debris which were covered the area. Other contexts were defined by changes in soil type or cultural boundaries.
We began with the process of shovel shaving, which entailed removing layers of earth gradually, using shovels to skim the exposed surface, removing a few inches at a time. The dirt removed was kept in buckets and carefully sifted to ensure no artifacts had been overlooked during the digging process. In addition to shovel shaving, we used trowels and dustbins to perform more detailed work. This detailed work was conducted when we discovered features and artifacts that needed more precise digging to be preserved.
More information about the excavation process: