Wednesday, July 12, 2017

New Ventures

Our group meeting to discuss possible
excavation unit locations.
         Good evening, all!  My name is Diana Campbell, and I hope everyone is having an awesome summer!  We are now at the end of another long day in the field and we are getting ready to move onto the next phase of the project. Last Friday, we all met with our pit partners to nominate possible unit locations to excavate and as of today, we have selected and staked out those areas in preparation to break ground tomorrow.  These new excavation units will serve to further our explorations of the site we have previously identified as containing structures from Fort Saint Joseph. We hope to soon have updates on new finds to share with everyone!
Crystal working on completing our
shovel test pit.
Meanwhile, we finished our shovel test pits at the new site we have been exploring and have determined it is worth further investigation in future seasons.  Many of us are hyped up about the finds we have already uncovered and are super excited about moving on to the floodplain; as we understand, we are sure to discover quite a bit more down there!  Nevertheless, the product of the past few days of digging has not been too shabby…my pit partner, Crystal, and I found quite a few artifacts in our first shovel test pit, and possible further signs of human activity in our second. Several other teams made similar discoveries to our own, and we hope future students will find many more!
        Crystal and I are particularly stoked, having been both delighted and surprised to have encountered the first artifact: a piece of clinker, which is an impurity left behind from burning coal.  This is a good sign of activity from the 1800’s, which means the other items we found were significantly older, since they were in much deeper levels.  We also found a ball of lead shot, which likely could have come from one of the inhabitants of Fort Saint Joseph, as well as flakes from stone tools. We believe that most of our other finds were most likely left behind by Native American peoples, such as the flakes we uncovered, that may have came from someone who stopped to sharpen a stone tool.  Both Crystal and I are very hopeful that this new area will provide clues about the interaction between the native and colonial peoples in the future, as well.
Here I am helping to set up the tetrapods for wet screening.
         Although we have been delayed twice by rain over the past week, there is no doubt the entire group has made excellent progress, not only on the site, but toward developing as a team as well!  Our discoveries aren’t just in artifacts, after all…we also are learning where our strengths and weaknesses in the process of getting to know each other.  Anybody who stops by the site now can see the tetrapods set up for wet screening, but not how the work has contributed to forming friendships and teaching us how to work and live with others we never knew before starting field school. Archaeology isn’t just about cool finds; it’s also about working together, and we look forward not only to working with each other, but also to sharing our love of archaeology with the community in the weeks ahead!

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