Friday, June 25, 2010

Day 33: Last Day of the Field School

Today, Friday, the crazy class (pictured below) had their last round table meeting discussing the end results of the individual projects. They also handed in their field notebooks, a self evaluation, a peer evaluation, their final exam, and their reports.

Here's a quick update!

Nadia successfully found information on almost 20 different artifacts through contacting manufacturers, diagnostics, and research.
The main artifact to point out was the colgate toothpaste tube. Colgate gave us an updated date range for the manufacturing period of 1908 - 1920. It was actually one of the first toothpastes ever produced in a tube.
Also, the updated date range for the orange crush bottle is from 1923 to 1940.

Sonya documented just over 150 artifacts this year in her beautifully bound catalog. She included all of the diagnostic details, including measurements, photos, and the location where they were found.

Max collected data on the rock chair, which was composed of 19 pieces of granite cut stone. He was not asked to interpret the structure, but to compile data and sketches.

Sean went through each level bag found this year, looking for misfiled artifacts, and unnoticed context. Although he mostly went through mounds of glass or metal shards, he did find three artifacts: 3 boot clasps, a broken brown bottle that was able to be reconstructed, and a can opening key.

Suzannah excavated the Hillside Cabin, aka Moss Vegas. Within the area a stove damper (perhaps from around 1917 - 1950 when it was manufactured) was found, along with a door hinge, and a McClary lid. According to Carl Sparks, who visited us on June 7th, it could have been a stove or garbage can because McClary manufactured both. There was also the large rock formation which perhaps was used to level the cabin. The cabin seems to have fallen east, downhill, because that is where we found more large rocks and a large amount of window glass.

Simon was to find the total minimum number of bottles in the McKenzie Creek site. Recently he had adopted an additional project with Spencer which included attempting to find more diagnostics on the tin cans through different methods (some more triumphant than others). They have been successful with the can project, and have decided to work on it over the summer together with Andrea on their own time.

Brittany went over all previously collected artifacts (not including this years), to compile and correct any information, with the main objective being the creation of consistency in the description of artifacts for the whole region. Physically there were 884 artifacts in the field school's collection, but over 2000 have been recorded.

Bora surveyed the northern part of the western hillside, and produced a map which documented the features and artifacts that he found (including a piece of a shell).

Paul was to research into the wooden planks near the Japanese bathhouse. He mostly collected data. He found 3 different kinds/sizes of nails, grouped in 3 different areas, and he speculated as to why that was. He also found several bent nails bent to 90 degree angles, which caused him to think: when the loggers nailed into a board and accidentally caused the nail to bend slightly, they got frustrated and ended up just hammering the nail to be parallel (90 degrees) with the object.
Overall, the planks didn't have the same structure as the nearby road, and they were so unusually close to the bathhouse, with no artifacts found nearby indicated that it was a cabin.
It is a possibility that perhaps it was one giant feature with the bathhouse, but the Japanese hadn't built anything like that in the past so it seems unlikely.
The Burnaby Heritage/Village Museum has a reconstructed Japanese bathhouse from the 1920's that we compared ours to, which helps suggest that one giant feature is also unusual.
Another possibility is a theory of Spencer's, where he suggests that the feature was a mess hall with a canvas cover, which would explain the planks and the lack of roof.

Anja studied 2 depressions, with a third added to her plate later on. For the third depression, found inside were a strange collection of artifacts: buttons, a metal handle, and ceramics, and found 4 or 5 metal files. Anja looked into the shape and size of the files, which were classified as machine files used for scroll or ban saws that create curves in metal or wood.

Rikki did the soil samples for the "Japanese Garden" and the "Japanese Rockery". She created a huge quantity of micrographs, and collected raw data which was beneficial for making bar-graphs. The graphs helped her come to a three conclusions:
1-The Japanese Garden probably wasn't a garden according to her evidence, and there are no concrete evidence suggesting what it was.
2-The Japanese Rockery appears to have been used for a garden, based on the amount of shell and bone found (they are used to increase the pH of the soil).
3-Charcoal was found at every level she did tests on, in every area including the controls.
4-Rikki's pollen analysis/comparison was unsuccessful, because she found no pollen in her samples to compare to her control.

Andrea made a portfolio containing clear and detailed photographs of several artifacts, and had lots of fun figuring out different ways to capture different kinds of materials. For example, glass bottles were great items to photograph with a black background.

Verena made fantastic illustrations of 14 artifacts, which were all included in the final report. The detail required for the drawings turned out to be more time consuming than expected. Verena also helped draw maps for the final report, and they looked amazing!

Andy had prepared, compiled, and organized the final report under direction from Bob, which is now available through Bob (and you can leave a message on this blog, or email Bob if you are interested in a copy). The report is extremely informative and concise.

Near the end of the day Rikki presented Bob with a beautiful bowl (pictured below) that she made in her pottery class, which documents the names of the students in the class, Bob's name, and the year of the field school. Bob will include it in the Archaeology display in Capilano University! (Good job Rikki! Bob got misty eyed!)

By the way, a few of the field schoolers ended up successfully convincing Bob to go to the pub with them for a beer. Success! Pictured below is proof!

Thank you everyone for making the field school so much fun! The Seymour Valley Archaeology Project has now come to an end, and this is my last blog entry. I am fortunate that I had the opportunity to participate in this fantastic program, and that I had so much fun (rain, hail, or shine) working with a very extroverted, eclectic, and cheesy group of people.

Have a fantastic summer!

-Jessica Clayton

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Day 32: Final Exam, Final Field Day


Yes, it's true. Today, Thursday, was the last day in the field, and the day that the final exam was written. Tomorrow is the last official day of the field school, which will take place in the lab.

Here's what happened with the final exam!

The students were split up into four different groups, and each group was given an assigned site which was, as discussed before, the area that the student uses to fill out the British Columbian Archaeological Site Inventory form (sections 1 - 5, and 7) *downloadable here*.

After the groups find their sites together, it was up to each individual student to collect their data, and complete their form (which includes, among other things, determining map references, describing the location, and drawing a map to scale.)

The groups & assignments were as follows:

Suzannah, Sean, Max, Nadia: The Hastings/Sparks Site. The feature to be described is the concrete feature that Bob had shown us on the first day in the field. The boundaries and access needed to be described too.

Brittany, Bora, Rikki, Anja, and Verena: The water tunnel and collapsed bridge feature need to be described, in addition to access and boundaries. (Pictured below are Rikki, Verena, and Anja scuttling off to their site.)

Paul, Sonya, Simon, Jessi: The Hastings Seymour Camp. The feature to be described was the rock/brick/concrete conglomerate on the slope of the site. The boundaries and access needed to be described as well.

Here is a photo of my group around our "rock/brick/concrete conglomerate", taking our individual measurements of the feature.

In our site, we also saw this water tank (pictured below).

For the part of the inventory form describing the access to the site, and the direction that the feature faced, (also for the map when documenting the direction that other features are related to each other) we got to use our handy dandy compasses (see below).

After getting all of the required information, the exams could be completed at home, or at the school depending on the student's desire. They are due tomorrow at 9:30 am, which is when the last day starts.

Perhaps the archaeologists will celebrate an exciting, educational, and fun field school, that went by far too quickly, with a beer at the pub with the best Bob ever!

Over and out until tomorrow!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Day 31: Picture Day!


The lab was attacked with much vigor, and now it is sparkly and organized! The inventory is accounted for, the display case for the field school as been set up, and the artifacts have been put away in to nicely labeled boxes into the anthropology lab. You can just feel Rikki's energy in the picture below!

For the rest of the day, the students continued to do some exam preparation, or report writing until our dear Ken Barbour came to take a class photo for us. Hopefully the photo will be a success, but we won't find out until he gives us our copy later on.

Below is a picture of the gang, taken by Bob, that turned out pretty well! Sadly, Sonya and Andy were unable to make it today, so temporary replacements were hand crafted by the other students. Andy and Sonya were with us in spirit and paper.

Tomorrow is the big final exam day, worth 25% of the final grade. Since the students have been given lots of time to prepare, the overall expectations of the exam results are very positive. Now the only real worry is the forecasted rain on Thursday, and having to part with our group and instructor on Friday...

I promised myself I wouldn't cry...

To cheer you up (but mostly myself), here are some more happy photos from today!

Verena & Anja:

Max, Simon, Bora, and Sean:

See you tomorrow with an update on how the final exam was administered, perceived, and tackled!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Day 30: So Clean!

Happy Tuesday!
Paul (pictured below), what was it that the field schoolers did today in the lab?
"We got to make it So Clean!"

Yes, today the students continued the objective of having the lab nice and sparkling by Wednesday afternoon.

Suzannah (pictured below) and myself worked on creating an inventory list of all the archaeology supplies in the lab, with some help from Verena, Paul, and Sean along the way.

Sonya continued working on her project by collecting and providing diagnostics for her supreme list of artifacts found this year.

Sean and Paul in the picture below were making boxes for Sonya and Brittany to use, but they were the handy men in the lab today. The women needed boxes to put artifacts in for storage.

Simon and Spencer continued their science experiments of can cleaning. This sign was found on the lab table.

Later on in the day Ken Barbour stopped on by to take some group photos, where Suzannah, Paul, Sean, Simon, Anja, Andrea, and myself participated. It will be interesting to see how the photos turned out, considering how cheesy that group is! He'll be back tomorrow morning to take a class photo as well.

Finally, I will leave you to ponder an event that occured this morning. Brittany found a cake (pictured below) that at the time only had once piece missing. It was in an empty room in another building on the Capilano University campus, and it had a sign on it saying "help yourself". Naturally she brought it to the continuously hungry archaeologists.

How long does it take poison to kick in?

See you tomorrow, if we live!

Day 29: Optional Monday Lab

Hey-o! Today Andrea, Simon, and Spencer were working in the lab this Monday, since it was optional.

Andrea was working away on her report.

And Simon was attacking cans with Spencer again, like mad scientists!

Below is a photo showing a before and after photo of a can that the dynamic duo had been working on. The progress that Simon and Spencer had made is very impressive! The structural integrity of the can even increased once the rust had been removed.

Tomorrow the field school will collect in the lab and if they aren't working on their projects, there are some other projects that need to be completed this Wednesday. Below are photos of the assignments on the board. Most of it revolves around organizing artifacts and the equipment, and putting things into storage.

After Simon, Andrea, and Spencer were done working away for the day, they came down to see my (Jessica's) convocation/graduation ceremony! (Thanks guys!) I am shamelessly including a photo for my family to see!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

SPLASH: BC Family Fishing Day and Watershed Tours Kick-Off

SPLASH: BC Family Fishing Day and Watershed Tours Kick-Off was today at the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve.

Each year there are usually a few thousand visitors who visit the several exhibits, including our archaeology display, the Water-Wise exhibit, the Seymour Salmonid Society, the Freshwater Fisheries of BC, the North Shore Bear Aware, Orphaned Wildlife, etc. Of course, there were also the watershed bus tours, and a barbecue.

From the field school, Verena, Spencer, Andrea, Brittany, and Bora helped out. Spencer, Andrea, and Brittany are picture below at the booth with the artifacts that Bob chose on Friday.

Our dear Anja (pictured below) was there in costume as 'Salty the Seagull', representing another group. Cute!

So far, the event was a hit!

Just a quick reminder: There is no field school on Monday, but we will be back and ready for action again on Tuesday! See you then.

Day 28: Optional Laboratory Extravaganza

Suzannah, Anja, Bora, Nadia, Paul, Simon, and Spencer flooded the lab on Friday with an electic assortment of music, while they worked away on their projects & project reports, or prepared for the final exam with help from Bob.

Spencer and Simon were using various tin can cleaning & restoring techniques, including one electrolysis experiment to remove rust. In the picture below they are using a car battery charger to send electricity to a tin can, which then causes the rust to transfer to the steel trowel. The process appears to be working. As Bob said, "They could hardly CAN-tain their enthusiasm." Zing!

When Bob wasn't helping the students, he was preparing for a public event that will be held on Sunday (Father's Day) at the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve, by packing a few large containers of artifacts, pamphlets, posters, among other things. Below is a picture of a few artifacts that will be used.

And just for fun, pictured below are some fossils that were not found in the field. Bob had recently received these fossil casts, and is very excited about them!

One other thing that happened in the lab, was a surprise visit from our dear Ken Barbour. Ken visited us on June 3rd and works for the Capilano Communications and Marketing department. He will be using a photo that he took on his day in the field with us in the 'Capilano University View Book'. We will be getting another visit on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Happy Father's day!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Day 27: Tool Making & Fencing! Together at Last?

The students continued on their merry way today, in the lab. The crazy gang was very "hands on" this afternoon...

No one was in the field except for Suzannah and Max (dramatically pictured below), who trekked off to find, among other things, more parts to the vinyl record found on Tuesday. Success! But, they came back at the end of the day in a bit of an awkward state. They had forgotten to take their tools with them, so they made their own! Suzannah is holding her hand made trowel, and Max is holding another portion of the record he uncovered. These two also dealt with a cornucopia of boulders, that Suzannah says "we successfully moved with only the aid of our minds, the tools we made from rocks, and shear strength." Underneath these bountiful boulders, they had found:
- a twisted metal container, with orange paint on it
- a thin metal handle
- a glass jar bottom
- a section of a broken ceramic plate
- more cardboard (found near the record, making us think it was the case for it)
- and lots of bottle caps with diagnostics on them!

Former field schooler Christie Leung had joined us in the lab today, to help work on projects. Thanks Christie!

Speaking of former field schoolers... Spencer taught us a very valuable lesson today (during the lunch break), on how to solve an argument with an archaeologist... Sure, most archaeologists would agree that you would just buy your colleague a beer, but Spencer declared that it is through fencing! Pictured below is one of the matches he had with Simon.

The groupies (pictured below), watching from inside the lab, were caught red-handed as they swooned over the undefeated champion.

An update on what Rikki (pictured below) was doing in the lab for her project is her soil samples.

Last week she was able to separate the moss and junk from the soil, and this week she continues to go through her checklist for materials found in her controls, in order to compare them to the Japanese rockery and garden. If there is a large difference between the controls and McKenzie Creek sites, then this might help us determine what the rockery was used for, and if a garden was previously in the area.

Her work station is set up in a very impressive way! Rikki brought her microscope from home, and the handy dandy machine of science actually has a camera that you can hook up to the microscope lens, and then into the computer. This way Rikki is able to provide Bob with detailed photos of soil, which proves if there were objects like shells or seeds present in it.

Our sweet Nadia (pictured below) spent the day researching the orange crush glass bottle we found. When she find out more information, I'll be sure to share it with you on the blog!

The saucy Verena (below) continued her magnificently thorough drawings.

Here is her sketch of a metal top to a Japanese beer or sake bottle, compared to the original. Impressive!

And naturally, the darling Andrea continued taking her photos of the artifacts.

Continuing yesterdays story, here is an update from Sean, Brittany, and Sonja's adventure. They had gone into the field yesterday to do some surveying, in an area that Bob had never checked out before. They think that a homeless person, or some campers, had been in the area within the last 10 years because they found a relatively new pot & pan near a recent cooking fire. They had also found some newer pieces of wood with nails embedded into them along a very steep slope off of the trail they were surveying along, as well as some wooden features that looked like they were used for stairs.

Today went by very quickly, but since tomorrow is another optional lab day students do have the option to work at home or in the lab on their projects.

On Monday there is no class scheduled, but the school will be running again on Tuesday the 22nd. Have a great weekend (don't forget that it is Fathers day on Sunday), and see you next week!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Day 26: Maps, Records, and Buttons! Oh My!

The field school was split up into two groups again today, except the lab kids from yesterday were in the field, and the fieldlings were in the lab.

Sean, Brittany, and Sonya were out in the field surveying a bike trail that was never surveyed by Bob before. The bike trails often seem to go through trails that had already been formed, so it is possible that the bike trail that this group was going through had once been used for access to the cabin. Tomorrow we will hopefully have an update of what, if anything, they found in the area.

Most of the other students were in the lab, where two very exciting things happened. First, we received an exiting package in the mail from Steve Carter on behalf of Carhartt! Carhartt manufactured work gear and garments (eg: overalls) and the people who used the products were often in the logging, railroad, mining, and agriculture industries. The package contained lots of goodies, including the work bibs/handkerchiefs that Nadia, Anja, Paul, and Suzannah are modeling for us in the picture below.

On Day 11 of the field school we had found a Carhartt button (click here for the picture of our button), and Andrea was doing research and ended up emailing Steve for some information, and boy did he help narrow down a time period for us. This particular style of button had a patent on it in 1913, and was used until 1932 for bibs! Below are pictures of the two kinds of buttons that he had sent us.

We did not find the heart shaped button (pictured below) on the site, however, now we have an untarnished version to compare to if we do find one. This button was used for jackets and coats from 1900 until 1930.

Steve also included the Carhartt Universal Account Book for Farmers booklet (pictured below). The booklet was interesting to go through because it included some information on the history of Carhartts, and the promise from the President to his customers to continue to provide quality products. Thanks Steve for all of your help!

The second exciting thing to have happen today revolved around the vinyl record that Max had found yesterday. Our dear Suzannah contacted her father (Roy) who works in the music industry and is very keen on solving mysteries such as ours: Who manufactured the record? What kind of music was on it? When was it produced?

Roy told us that in order for us to find out this information we must have the "record number" and the "matrix number", which are usually found on the deadwax of the record (the rim). We looked at the deadwax and found the record number embossed in it, however we could not find the matrix number.

By using the record number we had found, Roy found a matching album that had the same record number. It was on a DECCA label by the artist "Roman GOSZ and his Orchestra"! Side A had the "Brokenheart Polka" on it, and Side B had "Autumn Rose Laenver" on it, and it was recorded in 1939. We cannot confirm that this is the exact same record, without the matrix number, however this is very very intriguing and fantastic news because of the possible lead Roy provided.

Suzannah will be heading back with Max tomorrow to the area where he found the record, hopefully to find the missing pieces and therefore more diagnostic information.

There were other things going on in the lab today too. Bora (pictured below) was given the task of gluing broken bottles together. It was a very frustrating puzzle, but Bora is very good at it!

Spencer (pictured below) worked with his handy assistant Simon today (the second picture below) on the acid baths used to scrub away all of that pesky rust. It was just as successful as yesterday, and we are very happy that this method of Spencer's works! He was given the idea to use the gentle citric acid bath from a bunch of beer can collectors who work with cans that are closer to pristine than our cans.

Finally, most everyone else worked on their projects, like Anja (pictured below), or Verena who continued her detailed drawings, and Andrea who worked on her fantastic photographs.

If the students weren't working on the projects, or helping others, they were working on filling out their Archaeological Site Inventory Form for the Martin/McKay site assignment from Monday, or on Tuesdays assignment of drawing maps. (Pictured below is Max checking out his map)

A quick sketch of "the point" site where team Super-fantastic worked yesterday is pictured below. They did the sketch because they wanted to get a good idea of where the objects were located in relation to others, before drawing it to scale.

Thursday will be another day in the lab! More to come!