Monday, July 18, 2011

Tales from the Excavation

Fighting the roots.
We arrived at the Fort St. Joseph site this morning. We gazed upon the site, eager to dig the units meticulously prepared the past weekend. Our trowels grasped firmly in hand, we received our assignments and set forth into the wetlands, prepared to do battle with the quagmire of Mother Nature. I glanced at my partners in excavation, our battle plan already made for the removal of twenty centimeters of alluvium. Alluvium, what a cursed word! The river has deposited silt over the years, with vegetation stacking high above the precious ground hiding the keys to the past. Oh alluvium, how we hate thee!

The pumps hummed in the background, splashing the water from the depths below. The ground dried slowly as we were assaulted once again by Mother Nature. The rain cooled us as we continued to dig slowly through the mud, centimeter by centimeter. We found no artifacts, for the fort is buried deep beyond the sight of human kind. We continued to shovel, removing the alluvium and making steady progress. Baby steps to the fort, baby steps.
Centimeter by centimeter...

The sun came from beyond the clouds, joining the humidity in the assault against progress. I could feel my body losing energy, forcing me to pause and hydrate. Heat stroke and dehydration are both enemies, constantly forcing archaeologists to pause  in their quest. I regained my energy, pushing onward despite the conditions.

As the sweat ran down my brow I continued my journey into the depth of the past. But, what's this?! Roots, the bane of archaeology! Thick, strong root from the towering trees of the forest blocked our path to clues to history. I grabbed the root clippers, vanquishing the beast from our path. With the roots and alluvium removed, we were free to move farther down towards the depths of the fort. While only twenty centimeters in, we have faced challenges at which some humans would balk, but we have prevailed and shall continue as we move that much closer to the past.

Tellin' it like it is.
Until next time,

Photo credit Cathrine Davis

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