Monday, May 17, 2010

Day 6: Archaeologists at Work!

This bright and sunny Monday morning the wild herd was sectioned off into smaller groups and given several tasks to work on.

One of these tasks included surveying the land south of the camp for artifacts and unnatural terrain (like large depressions, or unusual rock formations). The method used for surveying involved the four members of one group to stand 5 meters apart, and walk in parallel lines through one particular area. They were combing the forest, and it worked! Sean might have happened upon some sort of foundation, Andrea found an aqua (as in blue, not necessarily for water) bottle completely intact, Jessica (that's me) recovered a very large unnatural depression, and Simon might have discovered a small bridge. Pictured below is an image of the depression, that seems to have a rock lined wall, and (although it is difficult to see in this particular photo) a decaying wooden beam is going across the surface along the left hand side. Curious.

Another task was handed to a crafty pair (Paul and Rikki) and their job was the fashioning of benches for the gang to all sit on during the morning and afternoon meetings. Don't they look proud?

Andy and Suzannah were in charge of setting up the first excavation units. This involved sectioning the excavation site into 2 meter quadrants, and this took place in the northern part of the site. Since a portion of this site was used in the field school a few years earlier, they had to look in areas already excavated to locate the older quadrants to keep the same grid system.

While inspecting the excavation units after surface clearing, Bob Muckle found this years first documented artifacts! Exciting! With the first object, Muckle had originally thought that it looked (from afar) like it might have been part of a bullet casing, but after going over it, he now suspects that it is the core from a small battery (pictured below). He had also uncovered a washer, and what appears to be a thin metal foil seal, possibly for a bottle (think about the top of a champagne bottle).

Later on Muckle also found something of heavy interest, using a special technique. The trees in the area of our site are all second or third growth, which essentially means that the trees came after the logging camps. Bob had pointed out to the herd that one fun way to look for hints from the past, artifacts, or (in my opinion) buried treasure, is by looking in the hole produced at the base of uprooted trees. Bob was demonstrating this, and coincidentally found a fully intact clear/transparent bottle. What are the chances of that?! (Below is a picture of the uprooted tree base.)

Well, Mr. Muckle went in for a closer look. Pictured below is the stunning artifact. A Bud Light Lime bottle, estimated to have arrived there some time between 2009 and... yesterday night!

The rest of the gaggle participated in either more surveying on the east side of the camp, or else they helped out with clearing more brush, logs, and other obstacles that might get in the way from identifying features. Oh they were working so hard! Brittany excitedly showed me one of their finds today, pictured below. It's a leather boot!

At the end of every field day, each student has to have their Field Notebook entries completed. Here is another picture of Rikki, sitting so proudly, while filling out her notebook on the custom made bench that she and Paul put together.

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