Wednesday, May 23, 2007

By Michael Birt

It is as though Evan and I had once again stumbled into a shovel test composed of hard clay; little did we know this hole would be our most exciting yet. It was slow going, digging through hardened compacted clay. It felt like trying to dig through concrete with a shovel. Evan managed to excavate the soil in our shovel test down to around 45 centimeters (18 inches) below the surface. I was screening the dirt coming out the hole, a process which archaeologists shift dirt through a screen in order to recover small artifacts (pictured right). Evan recovered several pottery sherds. Upon close inspection we noticed that the pieces fit together to make one larger sherd which appeared to be the rim of a vessel or pot. Directly below the sherds, Evan noticed a dark stain or discoloration in the clay that contained pieces of charcoal. This dark stain or feature could possible be the remains a posthole. Andrea inspected our find and determined we were going to suspend or stop excavation. We will open a larger excavation unit next week to further explore the feature. Evan and I mapped the shovel test, a process of making a scaled drawing of the wall(s) and/or the floor. We then lined the four walls with plastic and roped off the hole for safety.

Meanwhile across the site in Paul’s shovel test, he found a large animal tooth, possibly belonging to a cow. About ten centimeters (4 inches) or so below the tooth, Paul uncovered a linear feature where there was a line of distinction between two different soil colors (pictured left). At another shovel test nearby, Michelle and Mercedes found yet another feature at the end of day, five minutes before we began cleaning up. The possible feature was evident by a linear soil discoloration. There were so many discoveries across the site today; everyone had an exciting day under the hot sun.

We also began planning for the upcoming and Public Day on June 9th. We all brainstormed together on ideas and what type of activities we can have during the Public Day. I would enlighten you to these details but they are top secret, the final product will be shown on a grand scale June 9th, so don’t miss out.

Despite the sweltering heat of the days and no rainfall, to help soften the soil, digging is going by rather smoothly. It seems as though we have moved from areas of artifacts to areas of features, which indicate human activity at the site. I believe we might be closer to what we have set out to accomplish with our testing. One final thought before I leave you: could Paul’s and Michelle/Mercedes’ features found in their shovel tests be related since they look similar in soil color and size? Possibly, but only time will tell. Until then keep your minds open to all possibilities and don’t worry about getting dirty because we’re doing that for you.