Monday, July 15, 2013

Going Ostrich: Sticking Our Heads in the Ground

Today we learned that archaeological field work is subject to the world around us.  From the moment we stepped outside this morning we knew it would be a long day.  The sun was barely over the horizon and it was already blazingly hot.  The weather forecast for this week repeated two words, “hot” and “humid”.  It would cost a lot of money to air-condition the forest, so we had to tough it out.  This tends to make very irritable archaeologists.  As we headed out into the field, it was clear that everyone was excited to be back and eager to get down to work. 

A flake of chert stone tool production
Not much was uncovered today.  A few chert flakes were found, as well as a piece of lead shot with some white corrosion on it.  This shows that we are approaching the level of ground that represents a time before the site was inhabited.  We will be heading down to the Fort site later this week so stay tuned for upcoming discoveries and tales from the field!

The chert flakes represented at the Lyne site offer us a unique idea of the kind of stone tool production that took place in this area.  We are finding small pieces (roughly the size of the nail on your little finger) as well as larger pieces (some 4 or 5 cm in diameter).  The larger pieces represent early stage reduction and the smaller pieces represent late stage reduction.  With this information, we can conclude that on this site, stone tools have been started, finished and even refined on the Lyne site.  Every stage of production is represented on one site!

Washing some artifacts discovered this summer
Despite the heat and humidity, we were all very happy just to be digging again.  The heat could not dampen our spirits!  Unfortunately, some rain that swept through close to 3pm dampened the site a bit too much to continue our work.
We arrived back at the stables a little before 4pm and Katelyn was gracious enough to give us a “rainy day lecture” on some work she has done on cataloguing ceramic artifacts from an archaeological dig in Iowa.  She photographed and catalogued roughly 1500 artifacts!

Today was also our first day doing lab work.  We learned how to properly wash artifacts and soon we’ll learn the entire process of how an artifact goes from the ground to part of our collection.

Who can tell us more about Goldie?
We had another guest visit us at the stables today while we were grilling burgers and corn on the cob for dinner!  Dr. Nassaney pointed out a huge bird perched on top of the stable roof.  James soon identified it as a golden eagle, which would be a sweet band name.  We noticed that the eagle had its mouth open and appeared to be drooling.  We looked this up on the internet and learned that this might indicate that the eagle had just mated.  Any eagle enthusiasts out there?  Tell us if you might know anything more about this guy!

1 comment:

Stephanie Layman said...

I was reading the FSJ Blog this morning and wanted to comment on the eagle sighting last night. What the crew spotted is one of the two baby/juvenile bald eagles that I referenced on the tour of the Stables last Monday. The nest has been located and the two adults are seen frequently. This Spring two babies were spotted. The babies have progressed from staying near the nest to venturing further and further away.

I, too, saw the eagle last night as I was cooking dinner. It took off on a low flight towards the Stables. I told the kids to look out the upstairs windows while I was looking from downstairs, as we scoured the property to see the eagle. I felt sure it was out there, based on what I had observed. My first inclination was it wanted the chicken bones and scraps that something dug out of the trash the night before!

There are some great images of the progression of bald eagles from infant to adult at this site: Numerous sites indicate that it takes about five years for a bald eagle to fully get its characteristic white feathers. As for sitting with its mouth open, this is a way of cooling for the eagle, which is understandable in this extreme heat and humidity. This seems to be a good site for Bald Eagle FAQ: I've heard much of this same information, but of course it's best to check out multiple sources.

Hope this helps! Like I indicated on the tour last week, it often gives me chills when I see, or on occasion hear, one of the bald eagles. I am so happy that the crew was able to experience it too!