Rain, rain, go away!

The rain has really been putting a crimp in our excavation schedule! Yesterday the students were split into two groups, and spent half the day at each activity. One activity was going out to the site with Dr James Conolly and learning about how to map and plan architectural features like walls using tapes and fixed reference points. The other purpose of this exercise was to familiarize everyone with the site and to start thinking about the excavation strategy.

Planning and mapping the visible walls on site using a dumpy level.
Planning and mapping the visible walls on site using a Dumpy level.

The other activity was located at our wet lab in the Archaeology Centre, where the students got a crash course in identifying and understanding historical artifacts by Dr Marit Munson, who teaches the Historic and Ceramics Lab Methods course (ANTH 3152H) for the Anthropology Department. The students got to see the artifacts recovered from our initial identification and sampling of the site last summer in order to better prepare them for the start of excavation.

Crash course intensive on historical artifacts!
Crash course intensive on historical artifacts!

This morning we loaded up the trailer and arrived on site (fondly known as “The Corral”) for 9am. Today’s job was to clear back the surface of the site and begin excavating in the first structure we identified. We are excavating by context, instead of the more familiar 1-metre-square units. That means we are peeling back the layers of the site in the reverse order of how they were formed instead of punching a 1-metre-square hole through part of the site and seeing what is contained in that small window.

We accomplished a lot by 3pm, and found many interesting artifacts, including the Artifact of the Day.

Clearing back Context 1 from the structure. This is mainly the surface weeds, plant debris, and stones and rocks lying over the exposed ground surface.
Clearing back Context 1 from the structure. This is mainly the surface weeds, plant debris, and stones and rocks lying over the exposed ground surface.
Underneath Context 1 is Context 2 (foreground) and Context 3 (behind yellow string). Context 2 and Context 3 are the fill that is inside the structure walls.
Underneath Context 1 is Context 2 (foreground) and Context 3 (behind yellow string). Context 2 and Context 3 are the fill that is inside the structure walls.
As some of the students are digging, others are screening the dirt to recover artifacts.
As some of the students are digging, others are screening the dirt to recover artifacts.
It was a very busy site today!
It was a very busy site today!
Clearing out the upper layer of fill from the structure.
Clearing out the upper layer of fill from the structure.

Tomorrow the rain is supposed to return, but that is fine as Fridays are scheduled lab days in the Archaeology Centre. Tomorrow we will be washing and beginning analysis of the artifacts we recovered today. All in all, today was a very good day!

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.