On Tuesday, 4/7, we left the Arb office around 2 pm to start our walk to the different sites. After crossing the road, we hiked along a clear path through the woods that eventually led us to where the mill used to be. We stood along the river and could where the dam had been as well as a chair in the middle of the water. We discussed a little bit of the mill’s history before being torn down, and then we retraced our steps back down the path. We continued on to the next site, walking through the woods until we made it out onto the road where we could see the bridge. Although we weren’t able to actually go up to the bridge we still looked from a distance and very briefly discussed it. After that, we followed the road for awhile until we came to the grassy area that led us to the path to the cabin. Along the path, we saw a man just chilling under a tree, and at the end of the path were a pile of rocks and some structural remains from the cabin. We talked about its use and history and then continued on to our next stop. We walked back out along a road, then walked through the grass next to the road. Eventually, we made it to a field that a previous archaeology class had surveyed. We kept heading back towards Carleton until we reached the site behind Goodhue where we learned about the old WWII veterans housing. Lastly, a small group of us stayed with the MJ to make a trip to the archaeology lab in Anderson, where we saw artifacts and learned a little bit about the process of tagging and labelling them.
On Tuesday, 4/13, for lab, we started out in the Anderson classroom, discussing different survey tools. We also looked at the difference between a Google Maps image and a LiDAR image of the field to see what features were visible on which version. Then, MJ passed out different equipment, including notebooks, bags, clipboards with maps and survey unit forms, and clickers (which we didn’t end up using). Once everyone was ready and packed up, we headed outside to walk to the field which was just a little past the rec center. It was pretty cold and snowy. Once we got to the field, two 20 meter lines were set up so that we could figure out how many paces are 10 meters. After measuring a couple of times, we split into two groups. I was in group A, which surveyed the area that covered where we knew there was once a building. After the six of us lined up 10 meters apart, we began our survey, walking very slowly in a line and looking for stuff in the grass. Within the first couple of meters, I found quite a bit of brick and glass. I also found some ceramics and one piece of rubber and metal as well. After passing the 50 meter mark or so, I no longer found anything and my fingers were completely frozen. Once we got the end of the 100 meters, we formed a small circle, recapped on our experiences, and counted up all of our findings. We labelled many different bags to keep each different materials separate, and then lined up again to start the next survey. We did two more surveys, but there were no findings from either of those two. The weather cleared up a bit, but it was still very cold and because the fields were not plowed, the visibility was pretty low. After both groups finished up their surveys, we found that group A had discovered much more material than group B. Finally, we headed back to Anderson to debrief on our surveys and return all of the equipment.
On Tuesday, 4/21, for lab, we started out in Anderson again to learn about different site survey techniques. Then we had a group discussion on what we should do for our fieldwork. We had the option of going back and continuing our survey of the field where the farmhouse was, a natural progression from last week’s lab. Or, we could check out the site that the Wednesday group had visited that we speculated could’ve been a quarry. After many points were made, most of the class decided they would rather check out the new site. We took a look at the LiDAR to see if we could find any anomalies, gathered up all our materials, and speed walked out to the location. It was quite the hike through the woods and there were many rusty old cans. Once we arrived, I volunteered to help out with the survey and mapping group to figure out the space we would look out and create a rough image to work off of. The four of us wandered around and looked for important geographical features, including the different elevated tiers and any indications of human intervention, especially on certain slabs of stone. Using our observations, we were able to create a rough map of the location while the rest of the lab group worked on setting up survey grids. Once we finished, we added in the grids onto our map so that the Wednesday group could work off of it. Once everyone completed their tasks, we had a quick debrief where each group explained what they did and what they found out, and we shared the finished map with the whole group so everyone could see the work we had done and the progress we made on setting up the site for surveying. While we were looking around, we found a better path to lead us out of the woods, so we lead the group out that way, although we got a little confused so it was still a bit of a tough hike.
On Tuesday, 4/27, for lab, we headed back to the potential quarry site, this time carrying equipment for excavation to begin our more in-depth analysis of the area. On our way to the site, we made a brief stop at the Millpond Dike where we discussed possible excavation strategies to answer our question about how it was built. We talked about our limited options, including how we wouldn’t be able to tunnel, however, we would need to find a location that wouldn’t affect people who use the path while also keeping in mind avoiding a mudslide by choosing a grassier spot. Next, we continued on to the site, where we split into three different groups: exploration, excavation, and trash dump survey. I was in the trash dump survey, and the four of us began the job of collecting all of the rusty cans and glass shards in survey unit L10. We decided the easiest strategy would be to sort out our finds between can and glass, and then go and count and sort even more. We eventually were able to make a total count of metal, which included cans, pop tabs and caps, drums, and some tinfoil, glass, and even some plastic and fabric. Within the cans, we sorted as best as we could into different brands either by using what was left of a visible label or from the words on the top. We found way too many cans so we decided to take a single can from each type to act as a representative for each of our findings. We weren’t able to count up the amount of glass shards, but we did fill up two bags and marked down that they still needed to be totaled. We brought back all of our samples and equipment and then filled out quite a bit of paperwork once back in the lab.
On Tuesday, 5/4, for lab, we went back to the quarry site with a specific agenda in mind. We brought a few more pieces of equipment, although most of it was already there from lab last Wednesday. Once we arrived, we split into three different groups: a Millpond Dike excavation group, an L12 excavation group, and a map/survey group. I started off in the Millpond Dike group and we hiked back to the dike to search for a good location to begin excavating. During the search, I almost got barbed by barbed wire. We mainly were looking for an area with no roots, lots of grass, pretty open, and on the East side so as not to affect the function of the dike. Eventually, I was sent back to the main group to trade out with someone in the map/survey group since I was a weekly summarizer and that group did not have anyone. Now in the map/survey group, we extended our gridlines further past L10, making a total of 6 new survey units. After setting up the markers, one person found the coordinates using DGPS while the rest of us started our survey. In the closest unit, we found lots of glass and a little bit of metal. However, the further away we got from L10, the less items we found, until we collected nothing. We bagged up all of our finds, labelled the bags, and filled out the paper work for each survey unit where we found artifacts. During this process, I got stung by stinging nettle, which was far worse than the barbed wire. On the bright side, I found a vole skull and learned that they have red teeth, are carnivorous, and are even a little venomous (although not harmful to humans).
On Tuesday, 5/11, for lab, we head straight out to the quarry site. Once there, we split into three different groups again, with one group working on the quarry trench, one clearing out the wall of rock, and one continuing the Millpond Dike trench. I was in the MPD trench, so we brought all of our equipment and began digging. Since this was our last lab day in the field, we worked much faster, uncovering much more soil than last week, searching for any evidence to answer our question on the construction of the dike. The way we split the work was two of us did the digging, two of us did the sifting, and one person was filling out the forms to keep track of our contexts and findings. We had some fun discussing archaeology playlists, with Alex offering a few song suggestions. We first evened out the current layer, extending the bottom edge to make it easier to continue digging. After levelling it out, we began into our first context, going six inches deep and uncovering moister and darker soil. In this context, we discovered a bullet casing! It was a very interesting find, however, after some quick research, we found that it had to have been made and therefore placed in the soil after 1912, which confuses our timeline of the construction of the Millpond Dike, although it was still helpful in establishing a time frame. After marking down our find and taking lots of pictures, we continued digging another six inches down, this time finding nothing. After levelling out the bottom, it was finally the end of lab so we packed up all of our equipment and covered the trench back up with the tarp.
On Tuesday, 5/25, for lab, some people could choose to stay in the lab to work on their final projects while a small group of us volunteered to continue our excavation work at the Millpond Dike trench. Since we were a small group, it was nice that we were finally able to take off our masks and Noah even brought his speaker to play some music as we worked. We took off the tarp while others grabbed the gear from the quarry site. Before we started, Alex took a few preliminary photos and we used a tape measure to measure the depth at each corner of the trench. Then we began to dig, taking buckets of dirt out of the trench, which then was sifted. Despite making it pretty far down, we did not see a change in the type of soil so we weren’t sure if we needed to make a new context. Eventually, we got down 10cm or so and leveled out the bottom. We sifted out the last bucket, took more photos, and measured the depth at each corner again. We then switched jobs so while I shoveled before, now I was sifting. They continued to dig deep down into the trench while we sifted, now working in a new context even though the soil type seemed the same. Despite digging extremely deep, like much taller than me (5’3), we still did not reach the bottom, so we weren’t able to confirm or disprove our hypothesis about the core of the dike. We also didn’t find anything in the soil we sifted. Even though it was a pretty uneventful dig day, as a group we bonded, talking about music and Greece. Finally, it was time to clean up so some people brought the equipment back to the quarry site while we covered the now very, very deep hole with the tarp and wood, and then we headed back.