Josh Moore

Week 7: Clearing off the rocky wall

This week, I wrote my summary in the official group document. You can find it here:

https://archaeologyinthearb.com/2021-weekly-field-lab-summaries/#Rock-Wall-Debris-Removal

Week 6: More grid squares and DGPS exploration

This week (our penultimate or final visit to the quarry) I jumped at the chance to try out the DGPS. However, I first helped out the group laying out more grid squares- mostly by crawling through the undergrowth and up the cliff behind our main site.

The climb was harder than it looked, and very slippery, but I think I managed to plant the tapes at the correct distance and orientation. After completing a few of those, I got to try out the DGPS, which MJ was using to mark all the grid points of the site to within 10 cm.

The DGPS pole and materials

I helped her with this for the next few hours, including the tricky ones on the cliff. (We were rather worried about damaging the equipment, but thankfully it all survived.) Finally, we went down to the people excavating the dyke to measure the corner and internal points of the trench.

Closing up the trench for the day

After that, we headed back! The rest of my group spent the time searching the 6 new squares while I worked with the DGPS, although they didn’t find much- just a few glass shards.

Week 5: LIDAR-informed exploration

This week, we went back to the quarry to delve deeper into the site’s mysteries. However, this time, a group of 4 was assigned to do further recon work in the area, and investigate the other mysterious areas that showed up on the Arb LIDAR image. I was a member of this group, and here are the places we investigated:

A copy of the Lidar map, with the sites we visited labelled.

After dispersing from the quarry site, our first destination was the small anomaly to the northeast of the quarry. It was a small ditch area, with some exposed stone on the upper bank. We got there by going northwards, until we hit the pond, and then heading up the slope. It doesn’t look like much in the pictures, but I at least thought there had been human intervention- the exposed rock kind of looked like the same as at the quarry, and there was a pile of rocks near the bottom of the site.

The area
A tree- seemed freshly-cut
Exposed rock- might indicate human intervention?

However, we were informed later that that area is a snake hibernation area, so we should probably not go back there, as there’s a risk we could collapse their burrows.

After poking around there, we got back on the trail and headed towards the much larger anomaly.

Upon arrival, the landscape looked fairly natural, though there were a surprising number of felled trees, which mostly seemed to be parallel to each other? I think my group mates thought that the landscape was natural, though.

The real prize, however, was a massive amount of glass (mostly broken alcohol receptacles) down the slope. Many of them were even identifiable- there are too many pictures to attach here, but we were able to associate this white bottle with its US patent:

The patent number of the left bottle was still visible
Kind of recognizable, no?

We also found a really cool, pretty unbroken flask that may even have dated to the prohibition era (at least, I think the inscriptions on it were in use then.)

We took this back to the quarry, but don’t know where it ended up

Continuing a bit further along, we found an incredibly rich trash dump right off the trail, with all sorts of items- glass, cans, brick, concrete, porcelain, springs, china, ceramic, and even big metal sheets. The area, again, looked naturally-formed, but it was still cool to see so much weird trash!

All sorts of stuff!
An almost-identifiable piece of scrap metal

That was a really cool spot, and I would be excited to go back there for this class. After a few minutes there, we walked back to the quarry, where we met the arb director, who offered to unlock the enclosure around our next destination- the anomaly to the south of the quarry. She also told us that the enclosed area used to be a site for Carleton students to shoot rats, which was the source of our name for the place.

Access to the enclosure

However, the pit wasn’t that impressive- it had bulldozed since the LIDAR was taken, and it was mostly overgrown.

Not much to see, at least any more

Finally, we went slightly west to the last mysterious thing on the LIDAR map- but upon in-person inspection, it looked like a very natural, water-formed slope next to the dike. There was no trash, or really any reason to suspect human intervention.

All in all, though, it was a great lab! Despite the rain, we covered a lot of ground, and hopefully made a contribution to the group.

Week 4: Surveying experience

Our lab began this week with some discussion over where exactly we wanted to go. After some deliberation, I think most of the group agreed it would likely be more fruitful to try and explore a new site (the quarry) rather than go back to the same field, even if there was no guarantee we’d be able to find the quarry again. However, after a two-mile trek along the Cannon, Alex managed to find the site again.

Our Route through the lower arb
Our wooded site

Once there, we began taking on more specific jobs. A small contingent left to scout out the perimeter of the whole site, and try to map it out. Other groups, including mine, used tape measures to define the coordinate system of the area. We used Alex’s phone compass to find our north and west axis, and then used our tape measures to measure out 5 meter squares for survey. We then split up into smaller groups to survey the regions for any artifacts of interest.

Square L11, where Kai and I searched for artifacts

Kai and I managed to find a handful of glass shards and rusty beer cans (at least one Schlitz, in a model that didn’t become popular until 1962). We duly catalogued our finds and brought them back with us. In all, I’d say that this was a much more fulfilling survey experience than last week, and I hope our labors have prepared the area well for the Wednesday group. There’s still a lot we don’t know- how when was the rock quarried? How was the rock transported, and by whom? And how long has the area been abandoned to the beer can depositors?

Week 3: Introduction to Survey

We began our lab today with a quick orientation, and then headed out to the upper arb for some field work. It was snowing lightly, and bitterly cold (around 35) and I had not come with the proper garments. Upon our arrival at the field to be surveyed, we took a moment to measure our gaits, so that we would easily be able to space out 10 meters apart from each other. For me, 10 meters corresponded to about 12 and a half paces. From there, we were split into two groups. I was a member of group B, and walked the line furthest to the east. In our three walking sections, our group only found two artifacts (one being I wire I almost tripped over). The other group, at the outset, found a large number of artifacts, indicating some sort of structure in the northwest corner of the field. This was in accordance with our guess at the outset, and the Lidar map we had seen.

Week 2: Arb Walk

Our lab this week began at the arb office, from which we walked north and slightly east, generally following the path of Cannon river.

A panoramic view of the river

Upon its banks, we came to our first destination of note: the former location of the Waterford flour mill, which was the site of Carleton’s archeological project in 2019. One could see a fair amount of detritus on the rocks and in the water, as well as a dead fish and a chair improbably placed on a small rock in the middle of the river.

One can see the detritus on the rocks, and just barely, through the branches, the chair in the river

Continuing east, and then a bit further north, we merged with Canada Avenue W, and walked until we reached the Cannon once more. From our bridge, we could see the older historic Waterford bridge, although we didn’t get to cross it (which is just as well, as I think the signs said that it was no longer allowed). From there, we headed almost due south down the road, until we reached the site of the former women’s club cabin.

We circled the grove, looking for a way in until we found a subtle trail through the undergrowth. All that was left of the cabin, though, was two metal poles, that may’ve been part of the fireplace, and a pile of rocks. We walked the rest of the way back along roads– Canada avenue, then Division street after Canada ended, and finally Spring Creek road, passing a shocking number of roadkill deer along the way, as well as the lovely windmill.