Week 3 – Unit C

Alex and Jerica discuss their mapping plan.

Alex and Jerica discuss their mapping plan.

As the team continues to make progress in our work, I think it is safe to say that we have faced a few challenges along the way. This week in particular, the heat and humidity have intensified. I, personally, am not used to this kind of physical work. I have felt my body getting tired quicker as the summer weather settles in. One of the advantages that we have is that we have tents to keep us shaded for most part of the day. Not every archaeologist is lucky enough to have a tent to shade them from the sun. So this increases my respects for archaeologists even more.

My favorite part of this week was sketching the north wall of Unit C. It took me some time to get it right but the process taught me that, in this field, it is very important to pay attention to detail. Mapping requires a lot of concentration in order to get all the details right. It is also important to be a team player. My field school partner, Alex, has been a great team player and, in my opinion, we have been able to get a lot of work done in the couple of days that we work together. Mapping the wall would have been so much harder had it not been for Alex’s help.

Alex and Jerica discussing mapping the north wall.

Alex and Jerica discussing mapping the north wall.

Another one of my favorites is doing the Munsell Test. Finding the right color of the soil has been challenging as well, but it makes me want to keep trying until I can match the color to the right shade. I think this is one of the coolest steps when finishing a level of our unit. I actually went online and took a Munsell Hue Test to sharpen my skills. I was surprised to have scored a 7. So here is the link for those who are interested in taking the test and finding out how sharp your color vision is http://www.colormunki.com/game/huetest_kiosk .

Even though Unit C had an exciting start, we found ourselves screening buckets worth of clay, really nice rocks, and some more rusty nails. So it was decided to close the unit and move on to Unit D. The day Unit D was excavated, the field crew found a bone that could be from a cow. So, as we head into week 4, I am looking forward to making more intriguing discoveries and continuing this journey.

Jerica measures a depth on the north wall.

Jerica measures a depth on the north wall.

I think that my least favorite part is taking notes. I have always been a visual and hands-on learner. When I’m shovel skimming or sketching, I get “in the zone.” So, stopping to take notes of measurements or of what we just did, can be a little tedious for me. But I think that everyone has a favorite and least favorite thing about their job. All in all, the field school has been an awesome learning experience for me.

This is it for now. Until next time, fellow readers.

Reflections on two weeks of field school

Campus Archaeology Program (CAP) has been one of the most exciting and engaging learning experiences I have ever had. We are still on Week 2, but I feel like I have learned a lot through this field school. I have always been a visual and physical learner. So, in a way, this has been perfect for me. I cannot say that it has been easy, but it has been pretty great.

Dr. Goldstein explains how to lay out a perfect 2m x 2m grid for an excavation unit.

Dr. Goldstein explains how to lay out a perfect 2m x 2m grid for an excavation unit.

One of the main things that I have struggled with since choosing Anthropology as my major is deciding what to do with this degree and where to find opportunities to gain experience that will prepare me for life after graduation. As I looked for opportunities, one of my anthropology professors encouraged me to participate in CAP. I never imagined myself getting my hands dirty and digging in the dirt.  I have always been an indoors person and this experience has pushed me to step out of my comfort zone.  It takes a lot of determination and perseverance to do this job, and knowing that there will be days when we will not find anything. Having said that, I have really come to appreciate the arduous effort that it takes to be a good archaeologist.

Well, it is almost the end of week 2 and I am glad I signed up for this. Through this experience, I have learned to pay close attention to detail. Everything that is part of the environment  influences everything around it. That helps us understand how everything affects its surroundings and how we can interpret it. I have also learned to be meticulous when screening dirt. Even though most of the buckets of dirt that I have screened are made up of rocks and clay, I have been able to find rusty, old nails, a couple pieces of ceramic, and a couple pieces of glass. Sure, I am still hoping to find some type of cool bone, but any finding that can reveal a piece of history from the past is also great. One of the main things is to be gentle with the shovel and trowel. We never know what is hiding in the dirt 1 cm below the surface. So being careful is important so that, in the case that something valuable is hiding there, we can avoid damaging it.

An essential aspect of this field school is team work. Being able to work with a colleague and communicate with them is key. The work everyone does is equally significant to the success of the excavation. I am happy to say that all of the students participating of CAP this year work so well together. Even though we did not know each other prior to the field school, we now have this common experience that links us together and makes us the 2017 CAP family.

Thank you, everyone, for reading our blogs. I look forward to sharing more of my experience in CAP next week.