Some more progress!

It was the warmest day yet on site, which meant we took more breaks and made sure everyone was drinking enough water. The first Stage 3 crew finished their units with Michael and came back to the main site, while another group went to Michael to start their Stage 3 units. The hotter and drier weather has helped the soil to dry out even more, so screening is getting easier, plus our crew is getting faster and better at digging the more they have practiced!

Stage 3 crew.

With so much of the crew split off to do their Stage 3 field test units, Dan, James and I got to jump in and do more digging than we normally get to do! We did some backfilling, and generally filled in on a screen or digging when an extra body would be useful.

We had a visit from Bob Pearce and his wife Janice today. Bob was a MA student at Trent in the 1970s, and after completing his PhD from McGill continued as a professional archaeologist at various positions until his retirement. He’s still busy conducting research, however, and it was nice to catch up with him.

At the main site, the major accomplishment today was cleaning the exposed drain surface (deftly and capably done by Caleb, Grant, Teika and Janet) and photographing it. We are still trying to work out how it was constructed, as we can’t see signs of a cut or a trench. Tomorrow we will likely take out a cross-section and see what it looks like in profile.

Exposed drain section ready for photographing

Mel and Jada planned and removed the feature in their unit, and work is continuing on the new units we started yesterday. We are hoping that we are closer to locating any possible structure remnants by shifting our efforts to the north east.

It’s hard to believe the field school is half over already…we have so much we still want to accomplish and it feels like we are running out of time!

Student Blog — The Art of Mapping

One of the activities the students need to complete over the field school is practicing various kinds of mapping activities. Here’s Fraser’s account of one of those exercises. — Kate

No archaeological site can be undertaken without careful reckoning of your location and relative bearings. Today, our team of four was tasked with mapping a set of phantom artifacts marked with numbered flags.

Team Kilo-Echo-Juliet-Foxtrot

After some detailed instruction from our fearless leader (thanks James!), we began by laying out a grid which corresponded with the artifact scatter. Erik’s sharp eyes quickly found a genuine artifact in our test area (nailed it!). Measuring by hand, and then digitally using the Total station instrument, we could quickly see the value of both methods and acknowledge the precision that using the Total station allowed us to achieve. It was also a good exercise in teamwork, a valuable tool for an archaeologist. When teams coalesce, there is a palpable change in the timber of activity. Experience varies, personalities differ, but when you collectively put your minds to a challenge, and your hearts into your team – the results are rewarding, and even magnificent! So was my experience with Erik, Kyla and Janet on the mapping exercise.

The Final Product (Draft) – The finished one looked even better, now filed!!

Our final drawing represented hours of toil, and I for one, was quite proud of it! The drawing is the visible production of our mutual support and encouragement, and only spurs us to keep learning and improving!

— Fraser Williston