Bee Candelaria

Lab Week 4: Field Survey II

We met in the lab this week to discuss site survey techniques and general research questions to keep in mind while surveying. We looked at different mapping and data collecting techniques. We learned about DGPS, which our group was able to take out into the field to do. There was a decision to go survey the Quarry, which seems to be the area of interest for this term. On the walk out there, I realized that I a) hate tall people and b) am more out of shape than I thought. However, once we got out there, all was well.

The Tuesday group did a good bit of the heavy lifting in the mapping area, so the Wednesday lab was able to focus more of sampling. There was a group that worked on expanding the grid more and another group that worked with Sam with the DGPS. I was in a group with Scout and we surveyed 3 areas: K11, J12, J13. In K11, which was closer to the larger trash pile near the rock face, there was a great deal of broken glass of various sizes and thicknesses. Hopefully, we will be able to find something from its manufacturing marks or even reconstruct part of the bottle. In J12 and J13, since they were on the side of a steep hill, there was not much to be seen and surveying without breaking a leg was a difficult endeavor in general. We believe that any artifacts that might have been on the hill would have either been buried deeper into the dirt or would have already fallen down the hill. There was, however, small terraces of rock that were seemingly unnaturally even and relatively smooth.

We collected all of the glass and one piece of metal (a can tab) from K11.

Lab Week 3: Field Survey I

This week, the Wednesday lab group went out to the field adjacent to the driving range to field walk. Before we began surveying, we measured out 20 meters and used the average number of strides it took us individually to walk that space to estimate 10 meters. We used this measurement to space ourselves out into transects, 4 surveyors to each group with 1 recorder who measured the corners of the survey unit.

I was a part of Group C and surveyed the transect closest to the driving range. The beginning survey unit (C01) was relatively bare for me. I found golfballs and nothing else. In the next surgery unit (C02), I found 3 more golfballs. I collected two of these but left one that was stuck in the dirt. In the last survey unit (C03), I did not find or collect anything from my transect. My team reported our finds to Sachit, the recorder for out team, after each survey unit. We also learned how to label the different bags from our finds.

In my team, besides golfballs, 2 unidentified pieces of metal (Kalju) and 1 plastic gum wrapper (by Scout) were found. Cecilia found a large number of golfballs in the second survey unit, including 2 yellow ones.

I speculate that the golfballs made their way into our survey field by rascal old men who thought hitting in the other direction would be funny.

Lab Week 2: Arb Tour with Nancy Braker

This week, we took the opportunity to take an Arb tour with Director Nancy Braker and Alex. We set out from the Arb office to the lower Arb. Our first stop gave Nancy a chance to tell us about the history of the Arb, the first of its kind in the Midwest. We learned that the Arb was once home to farmers who raised dairy cows and chickens. This gives the Arb an invaluable archaeological importance because we are able to see not only early Carleton student life, but early 20th century life in Northfield. Since then the Arb has grown into a restorative site where research on prairies is conducted. Our next stop brought us the Waterford Mill, where Alex described the incredible manpower it would take to form the dike which led us out to the ruins of the Mill and dam. This particular idea is of great interest to me; I believe it could lend us insight to both the Mill’s earliest history and the lives of laborers at the time. We then visited a (possible) quarry off the beaten path which could also give insight to the lives of laborers at the time (and perhaps be linked to the Mill’s history). Our next stop was at the Waterford Bridge. 

Then, we stopped at the Women’s League Cabin. This site was much more recently intact than the Mill had been. By excavating further than the 2015 class did, we could gain more insight to student life, particularly women’s student life here when Carleton was largely male-dominated. A possible issue with this site is its apparent frequency of visitors. The Tuesday lab group encountered a man there and our lab group encountered teenagers most likely doing illegal things. Nancy’s story of the group which burned furniture at the site also supports the risk of disturbance to the site. 

Our last two stops were towards the upper Arb. First, we traveled to a field which once housed a farmhouse. Because of recent tilling of the field, visibility may be diminished, but artifacts may have come closer to the surface (also with the assistance of the freezing winters, who would’ve known?). Our last stop was Pine Hill Village near Bell Field where World War II veterans were housed with their families while at school on the GI Bill. Again, possibly disturbance from students could affect excavation.