Excavation begins

The first full field day is always ironing out wrinkles and fixing things, and in my case a lot of running back and forth between the Archaeology Centre and my office before we started for the day. Everyone met at the Archaeology Centre, we went over the plan for the day. Michael Obie joins us today as one of our field directors, and we also introduced Harper Jin, who will be managing the lab and finds. Then the convoy to site departed! I however didn’t arrive on site until after lunch, as in the morning I was giving a presentation on ceramics to the Williams Treaties Archaeological Liaison trainees.

Today we had several task groups operating independently. Part of the site excavation will be conducted as a Parks Canada style of open excavation, where we will open a large area and then dig it down in successive layers that unravel the various processes that formed the site. The first step was to take the topsoil down 10 cm. The soil we are dealing with in this field is a clayey loam, and the rain we have been experiencing has meant the soil is heavy and waterlogged and is not the nicest to screen.

Operation Area 1 undergoing excavation.

Another group was busy using the digital theodolite to map in the artifacts we flagged yesterday during the pedestrian survey, and the third group was out in the second field we surveyed using GPS to map in surface finds and collect them.

Mapping and recording surface finds with a digital theodolite.

Despite the lowering clouds and saturated soil, spirits were high and the excavation and screening continued apace. James was off site in the afternoon giving a presentation on lithics to the archaeological liaison trainees, so Michael and I held down the fort.

The bottleneck today was definitely screening!

Teika and Erik were tasked with uncovering the well that had been identified and partially excavated in 2009. To our surprise, it was full of water! This might complicate the excavation we plan for the well but we will sort that out in the coming days.

Teika and Erik triumphant with the well. Not shown, a poor garter snake that had picked this spot for a hibernaculum and died over the winter.

Just as we were packing up for the day, the long-threatened heavy rain commenced, which was perfect timing. Not so perfect was a little mishap with the trailer leaving site, but we managed to sort things out (Thanks Fraser for your assistance!). Tomorrow’s plan is to open up another operational unit for excavation, and continue the surface find mapping and recording. Now that we have some artifacts, the lab part of operations also will be firing up.

The weather forecast keeps changing but we are hopeful for clear skies next week!

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