Student Blog — Notes from a Lab Day

Here’s a post from Jodie recounting her lab day experience. — Kate

Mouse jaw

Due to the surprise rain this Tuesday morning we came to the Archaeology Center and began to clean the artifacts accumulated from the previous week. Myself and a few others cleaned the artifacts from context 20.1, 18, and 14.

The process of cleaning the artifacts from this site is very simple as the artifacts are stable and won’t fall apart as they are placed in water.

We fill basins with lukewarm water and place an artifact into the water and once it is wet we use a toothbrush to clean off the dirt. Once clean, we place the artifacts onto trays so they can dry overnight.

Squirrel SkullIn all of these contexts there were a lot of bone and context 14 was all bone with a small amount of glass and ceramic.

This was exciting because the other two times we did artifact washing there was a lot of metal, so it was fun to interact with something new. I also really enjoy trying to identify what type of bone is present and what animal it is from.

It’s funny when someone picks up a pig tooth because at some angles a tooth can look similar to a human tooth.

There were a lot of cow and pig in the context 14 box which made it fun to try and guess which bone came from what animal.

Pig maxilla

There were 3 mandibles that still had teeth in them and one had a tooth that came out but fits perfectly back into the cavity.

There were also 2 boar tusks which was really cool to see, at first it was hard to identify what it was but once I cleaned the dirt off of the tusk it was easier to see what it was.

There was also a very small mandible that I at first thought was a claw but then realised that it had small teeth further back, we were informed that it was a small rodent and that it was most likely a mouse jaw.

Overall, my favourite faunal find from the site would have to be the squirrel skull that was found in the basement of context 14, its really small and sort of cute.

— Jodie Leach

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