Student Blog — Field School Reflections: The Beginning of the End

Susannah has some moments and photos to share about her field school experience. James, Michael and I weren’t able to make it to laser tag, looks like we missed out! — Kate

Today marks the first day of the last week of our field school.

At the beginning of the course, most of us had never met and many of us had yet to experience archaeology in the field. In our first week, we were introduced to one another, and the BcGn-17 site. We walked the freshly ploughed field and flagged the artifacts at the surface, excited for each person who called out a ‘find’. Later on in that first week, I worked with Justyna, Cierra, and Alyssa to map and collect some of the artifacts we had found during our pedestrian survey. Even though it was raining and overcast, we still had a great time learning to use the theodolite and getting to know each other.

Cierra, Alyssa, Susannah and Justyna mapping in surface finds.

Over the next two weeks, we opened up a number of 2m x 2m units, which we excavated in groups of two or three. I teamed with Tim and Justyna to excavate a 2×2 and we were excited by the many artifacts we uncovered! My favourite artifact I found was a fragment of a pipe bowl that had an anchor on it.

The first 2×2.
Pipe bowl with anchor.
BcGn-17 site

During the third week, I had the pleasure of helping out at the Middle Woodland site along with some of my fellow field school mates, and the Indigenous Liaison trainees. Not only were the people lovely (I especially appreciated Rob’s great laugh!) but the material culture was fascinating.

Photo of Janet, Justyna, and Susannah working on a 1m x 1m at the Middle Woodland site.

Later on in the third week, I returned to the historic BcGn-17 site to further excavate the drain (originally thought to be a wall) with Grant and to learn how to use the Total Station. Mel, Michelle, Tim, Alyssa, and I were assigned a mapping assignment where we were asked to map a simulated lithic scatter. We used the Total Station to get the coordinates of each marked ‘artifact’ and then drew out a to-scale map of the scatter. While it was tedious work at times, we managed to have lots of laughs! The mapping exercise was good practice because Tim and I later had to use the Total Station to map the uppermost stones making up part of the drain.

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a wall … no it’s a drain!
Grant and Susannah’s progress excavating a portion of the drain.
Michelle, Susannah, Mel, and Tim posing for a photo mid-mapping exercise.
Total Station coordinates for each stone making up the drain (Feature 2) plotted in QGIS.

Now, nearly four weeks later, we have transformed from a group of strangers, uneasy in the field into a friend group of confident, early-career archaeologists.

The gang having a blast at laser tag!

While I’m sad this experience is coming to an end, I’m looking forward to what we’ll learn about the site in the final days of the field school and to keep in touch with the great group of people in it. 

— Susannah Clinker

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