Becca Riess

Tuesday Lab Week 2 Journal 

During this week’s lab we went on a tour of Carleton’s Arboretum. We visited four different historically significant places that are located in or near the Arb. First we visited the remains of Waterford Mill located on the Canon river. The only remains that we saw were the small damm we used as a trail to the edge of the river, and a couple of concrete blocks along the bank and in the river. Next, we walked to Waterford Bridge which has been out of use for a little over 10 years (if i remember correctly). Following that stop we made our way to the site where the Women’s League Cabin used to stand. Now there was just a small pile of rubble, however there seemed to be a fire pit that was still in regular use nearby. Finally we made our way back towards the main part of Carleton campus. We stopped at a field near the driving range and MJ explained how visual field work would be done on a field like this. After this short break we finished on the field behind Goodhue at the former site of WWII vetern housing. We saw some metal posts that once were a part of those structures. I believe after this a smaller group of the class went to tour the Archaeology Lab in Andersen, however MJ said that we were free to go. 

Tuesday Lab Week 3 Journal

During this week’s lab we started in the Archaeology Lab in Andersen. We talked about the practicalities involved in field surveys and how aerial photography can help us identify certain sites or give better context. We looked at images of the field we would survey later in the class which is behind the hill of three oaks, adjacent to the softball fields. There used to be a farmhouse on that property that has been torn down. In the one of the images we could clearly see a different rectangle leveling in one corner of the field where the house used to be. After distributing the necessary materials for field walking we made our way over to the field, at this point it was snowing (not very pleasant). Once we got to the field we practiced pacing 10 meters, this was pretty easy for me since I am used to measuring distances with my steps by taking one meter steps for measuring distances between poles and jumps for horseback riding. We split into two groups: A and B. I was in group B and we lined up 10 meters apart and started scanning a two meter width of ground. Staying in a straight line and equidistant from one another was harder than anticipated, especially being in the middle where i was never sure if i was the one moving or if the people around me were drifting. Unfortunately I found np artifacts and in general group B found very little. Group A on the other hand found different bricks, metals, and plastics in the former location of the house. After we finished walking the field we headed back to the lab and filed away the paperwork and artifacts that were found. Luckily at this point it had stopped snowing. 

Tuesday Lab Week 4 Journal

During this week’s lab we worked on gridded site surveying. At first the plan was to go back to the farm house field we had surveyed last week, however as a class we decided it would be more fun and exciting to go to a quarry that the Arb director found in the arb. After leaving the main path and weaving through various trees and shrubs we made it to the quarry. We saw there was a bit of a trash dump where old rusted beer cans and various broken glass bottles were scattered. The rock face did not match the rest of the surrounding landscape leading us to believe it was man made. We decided to set up a grid (which was not an easy task considering the amount of bushes and other plant growth in the area. First we decided to use a tree near a prominent stone as our starting point and laid out a North/South line with one of the tape measures. Then from the same tree we laid out an East/West line. I, along with Sam and Neil, were in charge of laying out the parallel grid squares. We decided to make each square 5×5 meters within the total area of 20x20m giving us 16 grid squares. After some crawling and climbing we were able to mark all the intersections with tape. During this time other groups were scouting the rest of the area to try to get a better idea of the layout, collecting and recording found artifacts, and maping out our survey area. In general I really enjoyed this experience (and not just because it was not snowing) and look forward to seeing what else we will find.

Tuesday Lab Week 5 Journal

During this week’s lab we returned to the quarry to start some excavations and continue our grid survey. We divided the class into three groups. One group excavated a place of interest that had an unusual rock formation, the second group started surveying and recording the artifacts found in grid square L10 that had most of the trash dump and we had left it until later. The third group, and the group that I was in, was sent out to scout out other locations that looked like they could also have been quarries or evidence of some other for of human intervention. We found the spots of interest on a lidar map.

First we went to a spot that looked like a smaller version of our quarry near the lake adjacent to where we were originally surveying. We found a formation that looked similar to our original site but a little smaller and with the addition of a bit of a mound in the middle. later we found out that this was a prime snake habitat and that the Arb director preferred people not to walk around that area as we could accidentally cave in some of their underground caves. In our group we dubbed this area the snake place. Then we moved on to what looked like the largest feature on the map right off of one f the Arb paths. This one looked more natural than the other two sites as the sides sloped down more gradually and it was not very symmetrical from where we were standing. We found some glass alcohol bottles down one of these valleys and found a very large dump site with lots of metal, glass, wire, and even ceramics by another one of these valleys. We found a whole bottle that we collected and brought back to the lab as well. Next we went to another possible quarry that was inside of a fence, so the Arb director unlocked it for us. The fence is there to allow a forest to grow without deer eating the small trees. According to the director, this quarry area used to be used by Carleton students to shoot rats, which caused our group to call it the rat hole. There did seem to be an unnaturally abrupt cliff/rock wall, however it was covered in shrubs and bushes so it was hard to examine. Finally we investigated an irregularity near the end of the dike. This however seemed like a natural formation with a gradual slope and no obvious rock faces or unnaturally flat areas.

Overall, it was a very wet experience in the rain but also one I thoroughly enjoyed. It was very exciting to find another trash dump with so many artifacts and glass bottles with intact writing. It was also very interesting to see that on the map these sites looked very abrupt but when walking and seeing them on foot they looked more natural and I probably would not have noticed them if I had not been looking for them with a reference to the map. Definitley would volunteer to join the scouting group again.

Tuesday Lab Week 6 Journal

In this weeks Lab we continued excavations in trench 1 and started a new excavation in the millpond dike in addition to extended the survey area in the quarry. We divided the class into three groups. One group for each excavation and a third group to extend the survey area as well as get some GIS data. I was in the third group. We extended the grid off of the L10 corner. We added 6 grid squares (L9, L8, M9, M8, N9, N8) and surveyed and collected artifacts in all of them. We mostly found glass shards. However the brush and fallen over tree that obstructed these 6 grid squares made the process of surveying and collecting a lot more difficult. (It is a miracle that I did not gather any ticks after crawling around in the undergrowth for three hours). L9 had the heaviest concentration of glass and we also found two rusted cans. In addition to this I took a turn gathering GIS data with MJ. I honestly enjoy the creation of the grid and surveying more but it was really interesting to see how accurate the device can get and how it works. I was quite impressed about the accuracy of it. All the points we took were within 10cm accuracy or less. I am interested in finding out how we did with laying the grid and how well we spaced them especially with the hill and the little cliff involved.

The other two groups continued excavations. The group that did trench one just continued the work from last week and found one glass shard and a bone of some sort. The other group started the trench in the mill pond dike near where we created our path to the quarry. Before heading back to Andersen we covered the trenches and the equipment with tarps and marked the one on the dike so that people using the path would not fall into our trench. Another fun fact is that we found a tiny skull in L9 that probably belonged to a shrew according to the Arb Director and that shrews are venomous! Look forward to continuing excavations especially on the dike and what we will find next week

Tuesday Lab Week 7 Journal

This weeks lab we continued various excavations in trench 1 and the mill pond dike. In addition a third group started clearing away plants, leaves, dirt, and rocks from the edge/cliff face of the quarry. I was part of this third group together with Sam and Josh. The purpose of clearing away this debris is o we could see a clearer outline of the edge of the quarry where the rock would have been chipped out. This outline can help us in the future to maybe match it to formations in other quarries or identify techniques that were used in mining the rocks. The most difficult part in clearing the section we chose were the tree roots that were entangled throughout the soil and rocks. They made digging with large shovels a bit hard and also narrowed the area we could remove soil without literally digging up a whole tree. One of the trees was dead so we removed a few of its roots but one of the other trees is still alive and doing well so we did our best to avoid the roots and not dig to far underneath it so it would still have. good base to stand on. We found a few glass shards while digging but the soil stayed a uniform dark brown until the very end where there was a small area of lighter brown around some of the roots close to the bedrock. We managed to clear a narrow path from the exposed bedrock in front of the wall to the back of the wall. For about half of the distance to the wall the exposed bedrock we saw before clearing was the base until underneath the roots there started being smaller “steps” leading to the cliff face. Seeing the progress we made during lab was very satisfying and I almost wish we could have kept going to clear out a bit more but hopefully the Wednesday lab section will continue what we started. Below are a before and after picture. With the shadows it is a little hard to see but the “steps” i described earlier start after the first root.

Tuesday Lab Week 8 Journal

This week in Lab we started our in-lab analysis of the materials we had found during our field surveys and excavations the previous weeks. We each started with a group of finds and cleaned them and then ordered them into different Lots. Lots are categories we put artifacts in grouped by the context they were found in, their material, and other characteristics. We started off with the glass found in GS-L10. We first divided the pieces by color, but then realized we could divide them into seven smaller groups, so created a group of bottle necks, a group of miscellaneous shards, and groups of pieces that fit together. Analyzing the glass shards and seeing if they are from the same type of bottle was very interesting and sort of like solving a puzzle. It was important to pay attention to small details like thickness and shape of the glass. For example we had many different bottoms of bottles but they were not all the same size or had different marks on the bottom indicating they were from different manufacturers. Once the artifacts were sorted into lots, we started doing research about what we could find out about these specific bottles. The most helpful pieces for this were the bottoms of the bottles that usually had a brand or other numbers on it. Unfortunately, with only the bottoms sometimes it was hard to figure out a specific date range since the rest of the bottle shape remained a mystery. However sometimes the brand also indicated a date range as specific companies would change their logo every few years. Other bottles had the date of manufacture on them. In some ways it was harder to find information than I expected but in others it was easier. The resources of the internet and the blogs of bottle enthusiasts definitely helped. Below I have included a picture of a few of the lots we sorted our finds into. You can see that these are very specific and narrowed down.

Tuesday Lab Week 9 Journal 

This week’s lab we broke up into two main groups. One group went out to the dike and continued the Millpond Dike excavation and the other group stayed back and started working on our final projects. Out of my final project group Sophia joined the excavation crew so we could get some good pictures of the quarry and the excavation sites for our final project. Sawyer and I stayed back and continued some artifact analysis we had started during class. I analyzed three glass shards for our project: Lot 13, Lot 14, and Lot 18. I also took pictures of the artifacts we would use in our project including the glass I had analyzed and the cans that Sawyer picked to analyze. Some of the pictures are shown below. After I finished finding relevant information on the three glass artifacts, I continued working on our outline and finding relevant information on the context of the quarry.