Thursday, June 24, 2010

Holy Productivity!

Yesterday, our resident geophysical expert, UWF graduate student Sarah Mitchell, was back out at Arcadia. She had previously come out a month ago to run the resistivity machine through our site. While the findings were indeed interesting, Sarah and our Principle Investigator, John Phillips thought that giving UWF's other geophysical equipment a shot would give us a clearer picture of the archaeological materials beneath our feet. It's also a fantastic opportunity for students to be exposed to high tech archaeological methodologies that they may not have a chance to use in the regular Cultural Resource Management world.

This time, Sarah brought out the gradiometer- a machine that creates an artificial magnetic field in order to measure the interaction of environmental electrostatic fields and gradients in a tested area. On the left, Sarah quickly walks the gradiometer along our established grid in order to obtain the most scientifically regulated results. If you notice, Sarah is wearing track pants and a simple cotton t-shirt. Although this is not standard field wear, there is an important reason for such an outfit! Any metal- from big things like cars and powerlines to little things like grommets, zippers, and steel toed boots can skew or ruin the gradiometer's readings. Nevertheless, most of our well-equipped crew had to watch this survey from deep behind the treeline!
We eagerly await the results!
Sarah will return next week to complete the gradiometer survey, as well as preform a Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) survey of an architecture feature-rich portion of our Area A.
Today was also a productive day. We completed a number of exploratory shovel tests in Area A in our search for additional architectural features. Also, in our newest open unit 12, students working there uncovered a number of interesting finds! On the right, student Shane McDonald holds our first whole bottle! It's a pharmaceutical bottle with a hand applied lip and pontil mark on the base. The bottle is embossed with the name for a hair restorer and skin tonic dating back to the 1860's. These patent medicines (also known as 'snake oil') usually did more harm than good with ingredients like alcohol and cocaine, but were very popular throughout the nineteenth-century as Americans became more trusting of the scientific pursuits of the medical field.

In addition to the whole bottle, students in the same unit found a nearly whole pipebowl (left). This marks our seventh pipebowl of the season, each with a unique design. It's certainly becoming clear how the people who lived on the site spent their free time!

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