Field Survey

Before starting on the main Women’s League Cabin site, the class honed its survey skills on a nearby agricultural field. Located south of the cabin site, the field would serve as both a training ground and useful location for determining wider material context. The field is the most southeastern point of the Carleton Lower Arboretum, situated at the intersection of Canada road and Highway 19.

Surveying began on April 14th, 2015 and spanned a total of three weeks, with students surveying on Tuesday afternoons. Before surveying, the class was broken up into three groups (A, B, and C), with each group responsible for a section of the field. Significantly fewer artifacts were found in Section C due to a controlled agricultural burn in the area a few days before surveying.  After the first survey day, only Team A continued to return to the field to take over sections originally dedicated to Team B. This allowed the majority of the class to begin surveying the Women’s League Cabin site.

Below is a link to the interactive Field Survey Map.

Through this map you can turn ‘layers’ on and off, uncovering different survey units as you go. Many of the layers uncover the transect paths the students walked, showing the materials found on each path. You’ll notice that the lines are weighted to show areas of high artifact count.

Weighted lines designate areas of high artifact density. Looking at the distribution of materials can show us something about were material is most likely deposited in the field. It's also important to remember that individuals walking the lines have different levels of observation.

Weighted lines designate areas of high artifact density. Looking at the distribution of materials can show us something about were material is most likely deposited in the field. It’s also important to remember that individuals walking the lines have different levels of observation.

The map also shows total survey unit finds, as well as links to interesting object biographies. Enjoy!

Click on Link for Access to the Interactive Field Survey Map!

For more information on artifact distribution and fun ArcGIS data for the Field Survey, visit the GIS page

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Field Survey Artifacts

For visitors who prefer summaries to interactive maps, below are graphs presenting data totals for the Field survey. When interpreting the data, it’s important to remember how the Field is situated in space. It is bordered by two roads and several walking paths, giving the Field a greater chance of accumulating human detris even if it’s not ‘inhabited’ (like the Women’s League Cabin). Because of this proximity to human traffic, plastic and other human made materials are likely to accumulate over time, an assumption supported by the data. Most of the ‘other’ category included either animal bones or paper and styrofoam materials.

Column graph showing Field survey totals for artifact categories.

Column graph showing Field survey totals for artifact categories.

Artifact finds displayed by Survey Unit. Notice how plastic and other are the most common artifact types found.

Artifact finds displayed by Survey Unit. Notice how plastic and other are the most common artifact types found.

Sections A and B:

Part of this area, SU-A01, A02, and A03, was located along Canada Ave., which points north. In total, 18 pieces of plastic and 2 pieces of glass were found in these survey units. The plastic objects include a Subway coffee cup, an Energy Shot container, and several wrappers of various kinds. These were all likely litter from cars and pedestrians traveling on the road. Route 19 runs east/west and is just to the south of the field survey. SU-A08, A11, B03, and B04 all border it and contained a lot of trash as well (ex: Bud light can, cigarette carton, plastic bag, etc.) Considerably fewer plastics were found in the northern sub-units of these sections; only a few pieces of glass, plastic, and an occasional bone fragment or ceramic.

Section C:

This is where the recent burn took place. In the spring, Carleton work crews burn sections of the prairie to revitalize native plants and get rid of invasive ones. As a result, not many artifacts were found in this area. Resilient objects like plastic, metal, and wooden stakes for the field were the only objects our survey groups found worth taking note of. The wooden stakes found in SU-C02 and SU-C04 indicates that parts of these areas had been protected or cordoned off for some reason in the past. The red plastic tape from SU-C01 and SU-C03 probably means that the area has been used in other surveys. The burn crew also might have used the tape to mark important points in the field for the burn.


Survey Unit Finds: Photos

Not all materials found were collected during the field survey, though all finds were hopefully noted.  Below are photographs of the collected Survey Unit artifacts. For a more in depth look at some of the artifacts, visit the Object Biographies page. 


 


 

 Field Survey Conclusions

The results of the field survey came out much as predicted; lots of trash had accumulated near the roads to the east and south, and less of everything was in the northwest toward the tree-line. There the ratio of naturally occurring ecofacts, such as animal bones, to man-made artifacts starts to even out.

Sections A and B are farmed in the summer and harvested in the fall (corn and soybeans). Since they are plowed frequently, and since Section C was recently burned, the artifacts from the field survey were most likely recent deposits, unless the farming process churned them out of the soil. With recent deposits in mind (particularly the unexpired Dish network coupon and the other recently produced brand-name products) it’s safe to say that the historical perspective of the field survey is extremely limited.


Content created by Chloe Bergstrand, Sage Mitch, and Theo Morris. 

ArcGIS map: Chloe Bergstrand

Photos: Theo Morris

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