Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The time has come

Alas, all good things must come to an end. Such is the case with our 2010 Arcadia Mills Village field school. All in all, we had a terrific season! We finished three 2x2m (3.3 x 3.3 foot) units, and made significant progress on six more. In total, we moved enough dirt to equal the weight of a school bus! We're all very proud of how quickly our students learned and developed into proficient archaeological field techs. Any one of them would do well in a professional position.

Before I get into the events of our last week, I'd like to show you the results of some of the geophysical surveys done. Unfortunately, the raw GPR and Gradiometer results are quite complicated and need additional processing before they can be interpreted here. I will, however, present to you our soil resistivity results (below).
On the left, are last year's results, and on the right are this year's. The dark bands running in perpendicular lines align nicely with our previously suspected architectural features, and further suggest that there were a number of additional structures in and around the area where our Block 1 and Trench 1 are located. Future work will prove just what these variously resistive soils indicate.

The crew spent much of the last week rushing about, making final maps (left) and preparing for final pictures (right). All this tedious work is in an effort to document exactly how our units looked before we filled them back in. For some units (units 4, 5, and 6), this documentation will mark the final glimpses of what the units' whole picture looked like. Those three units are now completed and will not be uncovered next year. For the rest (units 3 and 12 in Block 1 and units 13, 14, 15, and 16 in Trench 1), these maps and photos will give next year's archaeologists an idea of what was discovered during the 2010 season before work in the 2011 season begins.

These two photos below show just how far we excavated in Block 1 this year. On the left is a shot of Block 1 taken 20 May 2010. On the right is the final picture of the Block taken on 22 July 2010.

It's remarkable how far we got! Well done, 2010 Arcadia Crew!

Finally, it was time for backfilling. We lined the unfinished units with gardener's filter cloth to protect and delineate the exposed surfaces, then filled in the units from our mountainous backdirt pile. Before filling in the finished units, we tossed 2009 and 2010 pennies into the sterile bottoms. This was to create a new terminus post quem. This is a Latin term used by archaeologists meaning "time after which." This will show future (possibly very distantly into the future) researchers that past archaeologists have disturbed those sediments, and anything found therein is likely of a very disturbed context.

And then it was finished. (Except for the months of labwork, of course...)

I'd like to thank our two crews of rotating maritime/combo students and our steadfast core of solid terrestrial students for being archaeological rockstars. I'd like to thank my awesome supervisors Tara Giuliano, Kad Henderson, and Andrew Christensen for their wonderful support. We also have to recognize the fine efforts of our fearless leader, Mr. John Phillips, and the overwhelming and obliging hospitality of the Arcadia Mill staff. This has been a wonderful and rewarding experience, and I'm glad I've been able to share it with you!

Thanks for reading!

Melissa Timo
Graduate Director-in-Training
Arcadia Mills Village 2010 Field School

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