This blog post from Charlotte gives some good insight into the experience of doing archaeology, and how persistence and care pays off! — Kate
Archaeology is hard work. I realized this within the first few days at the site, when we began shovelling piles of dirt, scraping rocks out of units, and carrying buckets of that dirt and rock around the site. There have been days when the shovel seems to be continually bouncing off rocks and getting stuck on roots, and sometimes the unit being excavated does not seem to be getting any deeper no matter how many buckets of dirt we take out of it. This is not to mention all the work of mapping the site and locations within the site (which is a breeze for people with good math skills but can be a nightmare for those, like myself, who don’t like math and haven’t practiced it since high school). All in all, it is exhausting work.
However, the rewards for this work are great. For me, it was an extraordinary experience when my group was able to find several pieces of a ceramic maker’s mark and fit them back together into one piece. It was so exciting to be able to find those pieces scattered in the dirt and put them back together in their original form. It made me feel like I was piecing history back together, a history that no one else knew about because we were uncovering it for the first time.
Though the work is not always that exciting and we can spend all day digging and by the end find that we did not uncover anything new, when we process the artifacts in the lab we are able to see all the interesting bits and pieces others have uncovered throughout the week. Seeing the artifacts displayed in the lab shows how much we really are uncovering from the site, even when it does not feel like it or when I don’t personally find the artifacts. For me, this makes the work exciting. Being able to help uncover, even in a small way, the history of this site is a great experience, and I am excited to be a part of it.
— Charlotte Clemens