Ella Johnson


In the Wednesday lab, we did a more in-depth survey of the quarry site that we identified in our week 2 walk. Beginning in the Anderson lab space we started to discuss what the work could look like and more about survey work in general. When we began to discuss locations for a detailed survey, there was some concern that the Tuesday group would have taken over the work in the quarry. These fears were assuaged, and we undertook the walk to the site.

Once at the site I helped Sam and Lucile put set up the DGPS system that we had lugged out. It took a bit of trial and error to get the system all set up and ready. We began in the SE corner of L10 and worked our way north. We then returned south down the E side of the K blocks. Then we followed the southern line and made our way to the SW corner of I10 before going north again. In the area dealing with the hill and foliage became more of a problem, making it unclear where the boundaries for different squares were. It seemed that some flags were positioned much further apart than others. Throughout this process, I kept notes on which flags we had hit while Sam and Lucile operated the machine. I am hopeful that the data will turn out to be valuable. After we finished with the grid system, we started to map the rock formations. This required more detailed data collection on every shape of the lower rock formation.

While the DGPS group did this work, other groups cleared and studied different squares and locations. We also added another square to the SE  side of the site, going a bit up onto the cliffside. The next steps for the site could include putting the DGPS data into a map to better track and understand the site topography. This data could give insights into the formation of the site. In class on Thursday when we looked at the more clear LiDAR map the site appeared as a clear cur out of the hillside. Hopefully, the DGPS data could give insights into the size and scale of the cutout.

Week 3

The Wednesday lab group met at the lab space in Anderson before heading out into the Arb. We stopped tilled field to the east of the baseball fields and north of the Tuesday group’s field. Starting in the south eastern corner we walked north to south in two teams, covering six plots of the field. The land had grown corn which had been tilled over, leaving behind many corn cobs and stalks. I was walking about 50 meters from the edge of the plot where I found numerous golf balls, some plastic, and a little bit of glass.

Towards the third plot, there was a large pile of logs and dirt that looked to have been hauled there. Near this place were a lot more plastic and even some metal waste. I did not see a big pattern in the origin of the plastics although a couple of pieces seemed to part of food packaging. There were also hundreds of small uniform pieces of glass near this pile concentrated to one 10 meters or so area. The uniformity of these pieces appeared to me that they had been processed in some way and not just the result of a broken bottle or piece of glass.

The golf balls were concentrated at the end of the second and third plots. This seems to relate to the location of the golf course to the field but exactly how the balls made it across the road and to the field remains a mystery. This experiment was good practice at field walking and gave me a better idea of how a survey is not an exhaustive search but an estimation of what kinds and number of finds could be waiting at a specific place.

Week 2

For an introduction to the Arb and Carleton’s archaeology program, the Wednesday lab group went for a walk with Nancy Braker and Alex. We began at the Arb office and then walked through some restored prairie while Nancy explained the origin of the Arb and the restoration work that began in the 1970s. We continued into the woods, heading down the Waterford Dike to the Cannon River. From there we could see the remains of the Waterford mill and Alex talked us through the work the archaeology class has done at this location. The possibility of the dike as a site of interest was also suggested. Further understanding the labor and techniques that went into the development of the dike could prove interesting. We returned on the dike and stomped through the woods to a small cliff wall that Nancy had recently found. We discussed the possible uses of this space in the past and looked at the trash left there. This site could open research into any mining which took place in the Northfield area or the use of local stones in a nearby construction. Our walk continued to the edge of the arb and the old Waterford bridge. We turned around and headed back towards campus. Stopping briefly at the site of the Women’s League Cabin, we talked about the work done there in the past. After crossing into the upper arb, we saw the field where some survey work had been done before stopping at the site of the Pine Hill Village. These were opportunities to discuss the kind of work we may do in this class. Throughout our walk, Nancy gave us insights into the ecology of the arb and the history of maintenance done by the college. Alex and Sam were able to give more details about the work of the archaeology department and the work that we could be doing in the future. Understanding these histories will help us in deciding what areas could have archaeological interest for our own fieldwork.