Saturday, July 10, 2010

Picking up the pace

As we headed into this past week, it was with the knowledge that time is slipping away! We still have a lot to finish before the end.

In Unit 12, student Salina Hebert and director in training Melissa Timo excavated a proposed dripline. The trench-like feature only contained larger-sized objects like whole oyster shell, bowl bases, free-blown bottle base (right), and this large fragment of a plate with a printed pattern Salina is modelling (left). If this feature is in fact a dripline, these artifact make sense. Water passing through the dripline wouldn't be able to wash away such heavy artifacts.

In other news, we've finished another unit! In order to deem a unit "finished," archaeologists must determine that they have reached the end of cultural deposits. To be sure, UWF archaeologists will excavate two more 10 cm levels down. Eariler Euro-American, or even Native American, deposits can sometimes lie beneath predicted cultural remains, unbeknownst to even the most well-researched archaeologist!

Because the construction or occupation midden features ran deep in Unit 6, excavators couldn't call it quits for a full meter (3.3 feet)! Below is a picture of Tara Giuliano, supervisor of the students working in Unit 6. At 5'2," Tara had to improve her vertical jump just to get out!
Finally, on Thursday we completed our last bit of geophysical survey. This time Sarah Mitchell was back with the ground penetrating radar (GPR) equipment. Unlike x-ray, the GPR sends radar a meter into the ground, which reflects back and reveals disturbances underground. In addition to archaeologists, this machinery is commonly used by utilities workers. See the video below for how a GPR runs. The machine must be kept level and flat on the ground, which was difficult to do with the ruts and stumps on the site.

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