Thursday, June 3, 2010

Day 17: We Can See Clearly, Now the Rain is Gone

Ah yes, the rain that was predicted never came, and instead the field school participants were met with glorous beams of light that broke through the forest ceiling.

It was interesting though, because the dried up creeks became active with life! Bob saw the streams and informed us that he had never seen them flow with water before. Finally the man made bridge has a purpose!

Because of the added warmth, sifting was easier for everyone which allowed the day to be more productive. In the photo below you can see the main dig site in the eastern part of the camp. Please note all the roots that have been exposed, and the amount of sediments removed from the excavation units. It is amazing, that after going below 20 centimeters below the surface, artifacts are still being found in units (some of these units were even thought to have been sterile last week). The ability of the forest floor to absorb, move, break down, and warp artifacts is a complex and amazing process that deserves more attention than a mere mentioning in this blog (but alas, I am unable to do so). Please compare the picture below to May 19ths photo here to see the difference that one week and almost one hundred artifacts can make (even though the two photos were taken at different angles).

All of the sediment that was screened will have to go back into the site, once all of the units have been declared sterile. This process is called "backfilling", and is a task likely to be designated next week to some hearty volunteers.

You can also make a fun comparison of the Hillside Cabin area's progress. Below is a picture taken today, of the east view, and here is a picture from June 1st's blog entry. More planks have been exposed, and several metal nails and metal bits have been found, even underneath the ever persistent tree roots.

Speaking of the Hillside Cabin (Viva Moss Vegas!), Suzannah was able to find out more about the lid, discovered in that area, that I declared in yesterdays blog as a trash can top. She was able to make out more writing on the lid (pictured below), by finding more pieces of it while screening. Now we have reason to believe that the lid says "McCLARY'S", which is probably the "McClary Manufacturing Company" that makes wood stoves, and it is referenced in a fun little article here. McClary's later joined forces with 5 other companies to become "General Steel Wares Limited". Suzannah also found a piece belonging to the lid that had the number 3 written on it, which McClary's put on some of their products. So the lid, probably isn't a garbage can lid after all.

Okay! Yes, the Hillside Cabin has been my focus this week, but look: we had another visitor today! Ken Barbour from Capilano University's Communications and Marketing department stopped by for a couple of hours to visit the site.

Barbour was very interested in what we were doing. He got the ol' grand tour while he took photos for the school, and he also got to meet our darling Sebastian (pictured below), who was an adorable, but injured, rabbit.

The funniest thing that happened on site today was probably Max's afternoon assignment. Bob was saying that when the Metro Vancouver had introduced him to the site seven years ago, they had found it because someone had been going around collecting artifacts, and placing them on top of these large tree stumps. The tree stumps are often hollow on the inside, so Max's job was go around on top of these stumps with a 5 foot pole to see if any artifacts had fallen inside the decaying hollow centre (pictured below). Even though the artifacts would have been taken out of context, the people who were hunting for them probably only hid the ones of value, so it is still ideal to find them and document them.

The other digging areas were also well underway. Paul, helped by Simon, excavated under the wooden beams (picture below), and Rikki was back in the field today (instead of the lab), while she performed her control samples (to compare with the other samples from the garden sites).

Ah yes, the sunny day in the field will be followed by the Lab Day, which is taking place tomorrow. In the lab we will be going over everyones accomplishments from this week, including any interesting facts and artifacts found, in addition to status updates on the individual projects. We will also have the pleasure of another visit from Ken! Until tomorrow!

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