Friday, July 18, 2014

A Student's View of Archaeological Survey

I had the opportunity to be on the survey team this week. Earlier in the week we learned how to measure our own personal pace unit. My magic number is .701cm per each step I take. We also learned to walk in transects as a group and using a compass. It was much harder than I thought it would be due to the hills and uneven terrain we were practicing in. Who knew walking a straight line could be so hard! When we first did it, we were directly outside of the fort in the field and Heidi happened upon a hatchet left after a demonstration probably for the Fourth of July. Later on I found a woman’s bracelet up on the upper parade ground and turned it in.

We spent a few days digging 40cm wide by 80cm deep test probes in the area of the old Spruce Mill site to help locate the tent city that was within the mill area. In all we dug 12 holes. We mostly found a lot of asphalt and concrete left over from the old hangers but we also found some broken glass, a few machine cut nails, fire-cracked rock, small pieces of brick, a small metal hook, and even an old cigarette butt. It was very hot during the week and there was little shade to enjoy throughout the day. It is in a large field however and there was an abundance of birds to watch. I even found a wasp’s nest within the tall grass. We had just a few visitors this week, surprisingly mostly people that had a lot of knowledge about the site or archeology itself.

Today we finished up the week learning how to read and create maps by utilizing a compass and GPS. Our team leader Justin created two different “sites” and we had to map them out using both methods. One was an old cabin with a “fallen plank,” tin can, a piece of broken glass, and a shot gun shell so we hypothesized that the depositshappened by someone sitting on a porch, eating out of a can of beans, and shooting their gun. The second “site” was of a precontact site due to the absence of any European or post contact material. There was a projectile point, a ring of cobbles as if there were arranged for a fire, flint knapping debris, and animal bone. I really enjoyed this exercise. Next week I will be working again at the flag staff. I heard that they might be getting close to uncovering the post. How exciting!

No comments:

Post a Comment