Eminem eloquently describes the first day on the field within this segment.
On the first day in question, I held a shovel in my hands. I was ready to deturf the excavation area when I recall another quote; “archaeology is not actually about digging.”
I then spent the next few hours digging, fully aware of the irony.
It was hard work, but very rewarding, as we finished deturfing relatively quickly. From there we began troweling the soil, looking for artefacts and other interesting features. This can be hard on your knees (though I am told that knees don’t exist in archaeology).
“Archaeology is more about scraping,” These words could not have had any more truth in them. We spent many days scraping down layer after layer, looking for artefacts to note. I found many obsidian flakes, fire cracked rocks, basalt flakes and ten times as many rocks.
I couldn’t be happier.
If, however, you decide that troweling isn’t for you, there is always the total station. The total station provides a good rest for your knees (if you can still feel them) and allows you to get a clearer picture of what’s happening in the whole excavation. The total station records the 3D location of all the artefacts, rocks, features, etc. that have been found during the excavation. With this information, we can look at possible patterns of activity and events that took place in the excavation area. This was probably one of my favourite parts of the excavation.
Another favourite of mine was excavating features. Features can include storage pits, postholes, firepits, etc. The easiest way to know if something is a feature is to decide whether it can not be moved from the site without being damaged. Excavating these is like figuring out how a puzzle piece fits into the larger picture.
So, for future students:
- Lift several buckets a day
- Bring a REALLY good raincoat
- Strengthen those knees
- Ask questions – take advantage of the sources of knowledge
- Don’t leave your drink bottle in the car
“This opportunity comes
Once in a lifetime”
~Caitlin Macnay (feat. Eminem)