Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Artifacts and Facts of Art

Jon surveying the damage.
  Today was our second full day at Fort site.  The morning began with reminders of the unexpected nature of archaeology: a tree fallen across one tetrapod, excavations turned into swimming pools, even a friendly bullfrog trying to take up residence in our unit!  No worries, though – we archaeologists made short work of the cleanup and soon launched into the day’s digging.  Everyone is aware of the time crunch; with only a week and a half left before Open House, we will need to muster all our energy and expertise to finish our excavations.

The wet-screening station.
    It really wouldn’t be so bad if our site wasn't so plentiful and giving.  Now that we are beyond the layer of alluvium, the soil deposited by the river, artifacts are turning up nearly as fast as we can trowel.  My partner Michelle and I found quite a few shards of discarded animal bones in Pit Gelller, as well as what might have been a European flint firestarter –finds that make a lot of sense in their context near a previously discovered hearth.  Broken bits of faience, or glazed French earthenware, have been found across the site as well as additional glass seed beads.  Pit Tassie (home to Tabitha and Cassie) found a beautifully decorated bead from what have been a bracelet, and Annie, Jordan, and Scott’s pit yielded both wampum and a mouth harp that looks nearly new.

Annie playing the mouth harp.
            After lunch, we had the pleasure of hosting some of the summer campers who were both attentive and helpful. Michelle and I were at the stage of level mapping, and sadly weren't interesting enough for demonstration, but other groups had visitors. In particular, Tabitha and Cassie had the assistance of Alec, a young man who became very good at identifying bone.  We are very glad to have the campers with us!
Calvin, Mary Ellen, Charlie, and Ashley.

Joe, wanting you to envy us.
            Other exciting things were found in the afternoon, such as clay pipestems, but Michelle and I had to leave early to facilitate another key part of field school: dinner.  Aside from showering, food time is the most important part of an archaeologist’s day, and us students take turns providing sustenance to our fellow hungerers in the evening. Tonight’s menu included: homemade tomato soup, grilled cheese with ham, summer carrot salad, and chocolate-upon-chocolate cake.  Feel free to envy us all! 

- Sarah Oren

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