Friday, July 7, 2017

First Days in the Field!

Hello everyone! My name is Hailey Maurer and I am very excited to be a field school student for the first time this summer! The 2017 field season has officially begun and anthropology students from universities throughout Michigan have gathered in Niles with the hope of making dazzling archaeological discoveries. We have successfully moved into our new living space and are continuing to adjust to the blessings and challenges that come with living and working communally. Fortunately, we share a love of archaeology and have bonded over our shared excitement and eagerness to enter the field.
On Wednesday afternoon we had our first opportunity to enter the field and begin learning the intensive processes associated with archaeological field work. A large portion of our first days in the field was spent clearing paths through brush and locating areas of interest. Points which had been mapped and marked in previous field seasons were located and used for reference in the process of identifying new points in an area of interest. This area, which lies to the south of the floodplain, has not been investigated in previous field seasons. As such, the investigation of this area began with the digging of a series of shovel test pits (STPs) to determine whether or not further investigation at the site might yield valuable information or help to answer important research questions. The STPs we have begun digging at this site have already yielded a number of artifacts including flakes, charcoal, and lead shot. The process of digging these STPs has also been valuable as it has been many students’ first opportunity to excavate, screen for artifacts, and make archaeological discoveries.
In the coming weeks, following the completion of the STPs at the newly defined site south of the floodplain, we will be moving on to excavate more thoroughly at the floodplain. Because the floodplain has been investigated in past field seasons, we have begun consulting a compilation of field notes from previous seasons, maps, and other reference materials in an attempt to determine the best locations to place this field season’s excavation units. This summer is off to a great start and I am excited to see how it progresses and what we discover!
Field school students taking direction during the first day of field work.

Here we are pictured using the total station to determine points of interest.

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