Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Back to the pits!

We're finally falling into our places here in Niles, some almost literally into their pits. We've been hanging out in town, and trying to get to know the local people who have been more than friendly to us. Out of the five days here, we have had two home cooked meals and have experienced more hospitality than what you’d get at your average hotel visit.

First stop in town: the memorial boulder for the site.
Last Friday was the first day we all had our very first pits and my pit partner, Lance, and I were feeling pretty hopeless around lunch time because the two girls, or archaeologists if you will, in the pit next to us were busy finding ceramics, a bone, and a flake. After lunch, another pit crew found a piece of a ceramic pipe, and after I handed it over to Lance to look at it, he rubbed it for good luck. Soon after our little laugh Lance found a projectile point in a bucket of dirt that I had shovel skimmed. Finally, we got the chance to brag about our spider-ridden pit!

We were excited to come back Monday and find a ton more artifacts, but it was pouring rain as we left Western Michigan University (WMU) to head to Niles so instead of attempting to trudge down the mud-laden hill we had the opportunity to head to the Northern Indiana Center for History. After looking around the museum for a little while, two WMU alumnae who work for the Center for History showed us some artifacts relevant to our work at Fort Saint Joseph and the Lyne Site. While my major doesn’t relate directly to the field school, it is always exciting to meet WMU alumni and I know a lot of my companions are considering the museum an excellent place to apply for an internship.

The second projectile point!
Today we were itching to get back in the field and uncover more artifacts and features. We got our supplies out of the trailer and set up the site quickly and repaired any damage left by the storm. Fortunately, my pit suffered no damage, just contained five cm. of run-off sediment. After we sorted through the especially muddy layer, we got back to where we had left off on Friday. While Lance dry-screened some dirt, I worked on the never-ending task of keeping our walls straight, I found another projectile point! Dr. Nassaney told me it was the first time anyone had found two projectile points in one pit at the Lyne site. This one had been repurposed, meaning that perhaps after a breakage the owner of this item etched the edge into a scraping implement. The rest of our day was spent finding pieces of charcoal and keeping up with the constant task of keeping our pit floor level.

Our work here certainly isn’t easy, but every day we go to the site with excitement for the day ahead. We all wait in anticipation for what we may find next!

Peace, Love & Dirt,
Abby Stoner

Photo credits Cathrine Davis

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