Monday, July 23, 2012

Third Week's The Charm!

Tabitha and Cassie demonstrating proper mapping techniques
Today marks the beginning of the third week of the 2012 Fort St. Joseph Archaeological school.  We had a lovely drive into Niles from Kalamazoo this morning and the weather couldn’t have been more perfect.  When we arrived in Niles at 9:15am it was 85 degrees, sunny, and starting to prove that it couldn’t have been a better day to be out in the field.  Everyone is starting to understand that they can’t bring everything they own and that made packing the van extremely painless for the first time. 

Doctor Nassaney conducted our weekly meeting and everyone is starting to really open up to each other. This field school has been great so far because we get to actively learn while being outside of the classroom.  In a classroom setting, the teacher is the “head honcho” and is responsible for presenting the learning material.  Out in the field, everybody is able to bring their own knowledge to the table.  This creates an environment that is judgment-free, open to anyone’s opinion, and really lets an individual come to their own conclusions.

Mary Ellen and I working hard on mapping our unit's profile
We are all currently in the stages of finishing up our first units and completing all the necessary paperwork.  My pit partner was unfortunately unable to make it today, but she was still with us all in spirit (WE MISS YOU SUE!).  I had the pleasure of working with Mary Ellen today and we were able to complete a lot of our paperwork today.  We always arrive to the field Monday mornings a few hours later than we do the rest of the week so it was a short work period before lunch today.  Mary Ellen and I were able to finish up most of our unit’s profile today.  A profile is a way to capture exactly what an individual unit’s stratigraphy looks like.  This is important because it is an exact replication of what we are looking at so if someone in the future wants to know what we did, they are able to look at our data and be able to re-create/envision exactly what we were looking at.  This takes a lot of careful mapping and descriptive writing.  Every little detail counts and it’s very important to be as precise as possible.
Dr. N showing us alternative uses of a trowel

Lunch was a real treat today because Dr. N showed his field school exactly how dedicated of an Archaeologist he really is.  If most of us were lacking a spoon and had some yogurt to eat, we’d probably save it for later. Not Dr. Nassaney; not our field school leader.  A trowel is an archaeologist’s most important field tool, and Dr. Nassaney proved today it also works great as a spoon!
The campers checking out the Lyne site

After lunch, we all headed back to the field to finish up our work for the day.  Today starts the first week of our summer camps and we had the pleasure of meeting our life-long learners today.  They were an upbeat group that is eager to learn and I can tell it will be a great experience to be able to work with them this year. They will be joining us in the field tomorrow and we can use all the help we can get! Time went by way too fast, as usual, so our day ended quicker than I wanted it to.  This is also our first five day week so there is plenty of time left this week to get some more experience in the field.  As long as the precipitation avoids Niles, we will have a big group of happy archaeologists. 

-Jonathan VanderLind

1 comment:

Sue Reichert said...

Nice post, sounds like a very busy day, I would have loved to see the trowel being used as a spoon! Sue