Today marked the seventh day of excavation here on Great Mercury Island, and was every bit worth the exhaustion, dirt, rain, and wind that we have suffered through to reach this point. Despite the apparent hardship we are put up against, we continue to set out each day lightheartedly, excited at the prospect that today may be the day that we find something extraordinary. And we have not yet come home disappointed.
Today also marked the finishing point for our excavation of EA 64 East. We excavated out the site until we reached the paleodune, a sandy layer that we believe to be the surface during the Pleistocene. This is well before the settlement of New Zealand and so we can be sure that there is nothing below the surface. This is a was a very important extension as it provided a large amount of fire features, and may help us understand the cooking practices and how pre-European Maori set up their sites. However it was very repetitive to excavate and it is extremely satisfying to have finished it.
We also created a new expansion off of the original EA 64 site. We have labelled this expansion as EA 64 West. So far we have found very interesting artefacts and features in this area and are excited to continue at this area. This excitement is augmented by the continuation of interesting finds from EA 64 South, which never seem to end. Hopefully, this trend continues in the West expansion as well.
We have passed the halfway point in this experience of a lifetime, and we only feel more tired than we began. Our excitement and anticipation levels have not lessened. So far we have been sailors voyaging across the sea, pirates digging for buried treasure on an island, mountaineers, climbing and constructing mountains out of sand. We are excited to see what other careers we will experience in the next 5 days.