Week 4 Tuesday Lab
This week we deliberated for several minutes about where we should direct our archaeological pursuits. And finally we as a class, decided to take a journey to a site within the arb which was possibly a quarry. This was the Tuesday Lab’s first time visiting the location, but it definitely seemed more enticing than revisiting the field from the previous week. At the site, there was a promising trash pit, full of glass shards, and different types of beer cans. We set a base point right near this trash pit. We sent a team out to do some preliminary scouting, sketching and topography, and we began measuring out our grid. From our base point, we measured off the perpendicular and parallels, and measured out 5 by 5 grid squares.
My partner Josh and I started on one of the grids closest to the base point(K10 or 11..). We took preliminary pictures and sketched out a map of where things seemed to be naturally, before disturbance, in our grid square. Then we did some surveying, grabbing all of the obvious material, and moving brush and branches in order to find slightly buried artifacts. We found around 5 rusted pieces of beer cans, counted as metal, and around 6 shards of glass, which we documented when filling out our survey unit form. We have not done much speculating about the significance of these findings, the trash pit, or the site of the supposed quarry. However, it was another great hands on experience with archaeological concepts and field work.
Week 3 Tuesday Lab
The Goal of Week 3’s Lab was to introduce ground surveying, and the techniques which it employs. It was definitely an interesting experience. We had an option of two different fields, one being recently plowed, making surveying lines a bit easier, but finds a bit more scarce. The other field being unplowed, with very tall grass, making surveying lines a bit more difficult to maintain. However, Alex assured the class that there would be plenty to find, so we enthusiastically set our sights on the latter, with hopes of coming across some pretty neat finds. Our area of survey was a very large field, approximately 90 by 300 meters, perpendicular to Spring Creek Road. From the get-go there were obstacles which we had to overcome, one major challenge being the weather. I personally was not prepared for the snow and very cold weather, at all. I believe my preconceived notions of transective ground surveying were slightly off; I thought it would be a bit more similar to the intensive hike we did in week 2. I was incorrect, and I dressed inadequately; still, I believe that I learned an important lesson. As an archaeologist, it is important to be prepared for tough work and weather conditions! Truthfully, our findings did seem a little meager and insignificant compared to my grand preconceptions and ideas of archaeology as a field and the discoveries which it brings about. But apparently there was a farm house located in the A01 unit, where most of our discoveries were made, and I found this to be extremely interesting. There is something so meta about small, seemingly insignificant pieces of trash representing lives, stories, and insights into the past; a past which is no longer perceptible due to renovations, deconstruction, and other changes over time. This lab, although painfully cold, provided me with new and useful archaeology methods and tactics, as well as a new sense of the appeal of modern, small scale, archaeological pursuits.
Picture of Me freezing while managing group A, and filling out the survey form.
Picture of Survey Group A freezing while beginning survey of unit A01.