Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Day 20: Final Excavation Date (but the school will go on!)

Today was beautiful! And it was the last excavation day so the students were motivated, and in a hurry to get their units finished off while they could. People have become very attached to their units, or as Bob would say "become one with their unit". That essentially means that the hard working excavator can't even be teared away for lunch.

Sonya, Verena, and Andrea finished unearthing a tree in the process (as seen below) in their individual units. Don't worry about the tree though, since everything that was removed will be backfilled (filled back in) tomorrow. These ladies did a wonderful job exposing and getting under the roots (where artifacts are often found).

Bora (pictured below in his unit) also continued on with his excavating, and just when he thought the unit was sterile he uncovered a vent piece for a stove, which was quite a surprise.

Anja and Paul have also finished up their excavating of the wooden boards. In the picture below you can see how well they exposed the boards. In this same area they found two large pieces to a metal pipe (2nd picture below)!

Max has finished up everything to do with his project on the mystery chair (pictured below), and the small fire pit (2nd picture below), that was placed overlooking a ravine. He was concerned with the dimensions, drawings, and photographs of the chair.

The Hillside cabin (Moss Vegas) had many adventures in it today. First, the south unit's excavation was completed yesterday, so today the north unit was tackled by Suzannah, Andy, Sean, Jessi (myself), Spencer, and later to be joined by Simon and Max. After not finding anything other than nails and metal bits, and because of the rush to finish the area off, we started excavating to the east of the cabin where the original window glass had been found. Boy, did it pay off! Spencer, under the direction of Suzannah, had found MORE window glass! (See the picture below).

I was also very excited, because next to Spencer I found my first official artifact (that wasn't a piece of a can), which was a hinge and a hinge-joint for a door! It was made up of very heavy and thick layered metal.

Some things that also kept showing up were nails that were frequently bent to have 90 degree angles (pictured below). Bob postulates that the nails were hammered into an object, accidentally bent, and instead of removing the nail and inserting a straight one, the carpenter would just hit it until it was flat (making the angle).

(Below is a picture of the hillside cabin looking west, with Anja, Bob, Suzannah and Sean.)

One of the other things that the field school participants did was practice using bear spray with the proper safety techniques outlined by Bob on the first day of class, in addition to a refresher today in the field. The bear spray that we used had already expired, and Bob thought it would be handy for the students to get some hands-on lessons, should an emergency arise where it is necessary to use. There have been bears spotted near the excavation area. There are a few interesting things about the spray that are almost unexpected. First, the spray shoots out in a cone formation and then dissipates, and is pretty much only useful if the bear is directly in front of you. It isn't recommended to use it against the wind, because it is very powerful against the senses, as well as when it shoots out of the can because it is under very high pressure. Sean is using it in the picture below.

Yes, today a lot was accomplished with almost everyone completing their tasks as scheduled. Tomorrow the students will either be in the lab working on their projects, or in the field breaking camp (as mentioned earlier). Next week the students will be going through excavation withdrawals, but don't worry! The field school will continue on until the 25th of June, with lots of survey work in the field, and more lab work. I'll keep you posted!

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