Campus Archaeology: Week One.
Week One: First Impressions, Dirty Digging, and Tired Bodies.
Well, it’s Tuesday, June 6. After Completing week one and working towards defeating week two, I can safely say that working for the field school has been pretty great so far. We started off our excavation by setting up a 2 meter x 2 meter guideline. Then, we dug guide holes into each corner of our unit and also in the center, which was supposed to be approximately 10cm down. After that, we shovel-skimmed the surface until we were 10cm down into the unit. Of course, this process has had its complications, but at the end of the first week me and fellow squad mate, Kaleigh Perry, have completed the first level.
Level 1 Artifacts/Debris.
Although we have not dug deep beneath the surface of the Earth, we have found plenty of items. The most common objects are nails and shattered glass. It goes without saying that the nails we find are incredibly rusty and sometimes are almost unidentifiable. Also, coal is plentiful. From small chunks to big chunks, KP and I and the other classmates have found plenty of coal. Not every item we found has been a nail or piece of glass though. Some of the noticeably distinct items found have been a four-hole button, ceramic tubing for electrical wiring, some decorated glazed ceramic pieces, and a fragment of a Diamond Ink Co. bottle. More information on some of these items to come, but if you want to read about the ink bottle fragment, my more initiated partner, KP, wrote about it in her first blog post here.
With regards to the artifacts and debris we have found thus far, there have been some noticeable patterns. Firstly, much of the glass and nails have been found near the Station Terrace wall that runs along the West wall of our unit. The nails/glass being found mostly in this area supports the evidence that construction and deconstruction of a building has been performed in this area. If these items were found in similar numbers in other areas of our unit, it could suggest the presence of another wall or that the building covered the area, but that currently is not the case.
In addition to the pattern of nail and glass fragments, some soil patterns exist as well. Based off of a prior excavation, the wall should continue to run South, past the current spot where it ends, which is a meter down our West wall. However, the soil changes from a dark color to a much lighter and tan color once we reach the “end” of the wall in our unit. We aren’t sure what this means, but its presence with the placement of the wall may be of importance, and naturally has been written down in our handy-dandy field notes.
Overall, the entire process of excavating is methodological, systematic, and most importantly, it’s a learning process. We are all new to the game and are learning a massive amount of this process, and even though my body is tired and I have a terrible sunburn on my hairline, I love putting my trowel into the ground and gettin’ dirty.