Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Flood Plain Firsts

The clearing of the site (Photo Credit: Austin George)

Hi, I’m Dale Kraai and I am from Grand Haven. I’m a senior, double majoring in anthropology and economics at Western Michigan University.

Today was our first day at the Fort St. Joseph site. We began the day by clearing the site of its green growth with the use of grass whippers, rakes, and a weed whacker. Once only soil remained beneath our feet, we moved on to setting up the area to begin our archaeological work. After removing a couple of wolf spiders the size of my hand, an ant colony including their queen, and a warren of mice, our supplies were freed. Our spoils consisted of pallets that we use to traverse the mucky site and support us while we screen the dirt that may contain the artifacts that will help us glean information about Fort St. Joseph. The pallets were set across a small ditch with the tetrapods placed above them. These structures are designed to allow us to wet screen our potential findings by placing them on top of a screen mesh while spraying them with water to dislodge the dirt into the ditch below. 

The tetrapods after set up (Photo Credit: Austin George)

Once they were ready for use we began our final project for the day. My pit partner and I outlined the area that we will begin excavating tomorrow. From a starting point, we mapped out a one by one meter square and then lined it with string, making note of the elevation differences between each point. This excavation unit was purposefully chosen since its northern points align with a past unit that begs further investigation. The previous unit holds a fire pit used by the residents centuries ago. I’m excited to get a more in depth look into their daily lives. With that, we tidied up the field for the day and hit the showers. I can’t wait to see what lies ahead tomorrow!

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