Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Overcoming Difficulties in the Field

My name is Austin George and I am a sophomore at Western Michigan University. I am currently an engineering student but this field school is really making me rethink my major for several reasons. First when we arrived at the stable we are staying at I bonded with several of the other students quicker than I thought I would. I have been more involved and participated in several hands on activities that have made me think more about archeology. I also feel like all of the students here can relate with their passion for history which brings us a lot closer together.
The root we pulled out
(photo by Erika Loveland)
Last week we moved from the Lyne site which was our learning site to the flood plain, our final destination. We were given a new digging partner and that really changed a lot because we got so used to our first partner and found our strengths and weaknesses now we had to start over. It shows that sometimes in life things are going to change but you just have to keep digging. After clearing the site we were assigned our units. It’s exciting because we got to sit down with the teaching assistant and look at field notes from previous years as well as the site map so we had a little bit of a say in where we would be digging. When we looked at the unit my partner and I were given, we realized it was very near to a live tree and it had a large stump at the north corner that took up a big portion of our unit. Seeing this, we were a little let down and not too positive about starting to dig. We knew from the begging it was going to be trouble but we were ready to dig and that’s what we did. We thought that the big root would be our biggest problem but after a few swings of the axe we took it right out.
The bigger problems are the large roots that keep appearing. Cutting roots is a very exhausting task that takes time and wears you out quick. The lower in the unit we go the less small roots we are finding but we keep finding much bigger ones.
Flooded site
(photo by Austin George)
Friday we had a bad storm pull us out the field early and that’s when the chaos began. It rained for almost three days which we knew would be a problem since it is a flood plain. The amount of rain we received brought the river level up far enough to flood the site. We went down on Saturday to check the site and found out that all of the units had flooded and there was standing water everywhere. Because of the flooding, we had to take Monday off and today we worked at bailing out some of the units. We have to wait for the river and water table to drop before we can even think of digging. The pumps we have to lower the water table were too close to going under so we had to pull them out. Hopefully the river gets low enough for us to dig tomorrow.

Stay tuned!


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