If only it would rain! It is very hot and the clay is so hard we sometimes have to use pickaxes to dig. I couldn’t even crush pieces of it with my hands while I sifted. Today Moe and I started a test pit at N5020 and E5030 located under the trees along the eastern edge of the site. This ground was much softer than in the hole Mercedes and I excavated in the middle of a dirt road yesterday. Unfortunately, we disturbed a nest of very large ants that, according to Paul, do indeed bite. The first 20 cm (8 inches) of the hole were just sand, roots, and organic material. This made work very frustrating because it constantly falls into the hole; keeping our walls neat was nearly impossible. Straight walls are important when you excavate so that you can see the changes in soil deposits. There was also a large amount of amount of trash that was covered by vegetation until recently, so our specimen bags are full of nails, bits of broken glass, and one old zipper. The only artifacts of significance were two small pieces of aboriginal or Native American pottery. We are nearly 40 cm (16 inches) down, so perhaps this sandy, square-shaped hole could still yield something interesting.
One of the only real finds today was that Michael and Evan found some Apalachee pottery and daub (Native American construction material) in their test pit. Their artifacts have been very deep, at least 80 cm (about 32 inches). I wonder if we haven’t been digging deep enough, but I’m not sure I want to try to dig a meter into the clay in the with as many shovel tests as we have yet to dig.
Field school is definitely a learning experience. So far I have learned how hard dry clay is to dig through and how to tell iron ore, small rocks, and pottery apart. I hope to learn more about the artifacts left behind for us to find and if archaeology is what I really want to do.