MCAP Field School, Day 11: Back at it   Leave a comment

— post by Dr. Peres and JoBeth Simon

Today we returned from our lovely three-day break with an additional five students, a third water cooler, and renewed determination to perfect our new skills and find the edge of the site! After the intense heat of the Memorial Day weekend (100.4 F in the shade at my house!) the clouds and cool breeze in the morning were a welcome, if short-lived, respite. We knew our chances of rain were high, so we only worked in the two most northern units for the first bit.

 

Lovely cloud cover that greeted us this morning.

We were able to work for a few hours before our alert Field Assistant, Kelly Ledford, brought this to the attention of Dr. Peres.

 

Impending doom.

 

Dr. Peres made us close up the units, stash the equipment, and head to the on-site safe spot. Of course, this pretty much guaranteed the storm would fizzle before it reached us (which it did). Apparently there is an invisible force field around the property that causes storms to disintegrate upon contact (or so one our friendly grounds crew members joked).  Back to work we went, with a special interest in  opening our southern units.

Battened down Units 1-3.

 

Much to our surprise, and our noses’ dismay, the intense heat of the weekend caused a lovely dusting of white mildew to grow along the edges of the units. We also had to evict several spiders and beetles that had set up house in our absence. Thankfully, the critters beat a hasty exit.

The joys of black plastic covering units in the summer.

 

The students continued in Units 1 and 3, completing Level 5 (to 50 cmbs) and nearly completing Level 6 (to 60 cmbs) before the soils became more structured and the clay and organic content increased — i.e., they became harder to screen. In Unit 1, Level 6, Dr. Peres carefully excavated the scapula (bone from the shoulder blade) of a white-tailed deer with trowels and dental picks. The midden at this level is dark, but the soils are acidic so bone preservation is poor. The bone was removed in several pieces, and appeared to have been cut in antiquity. The amount of fire-cracked rock appears to have increased. If the shell deposits are in this area, we should reach them tomorrow.

 

Today’s student blogger is JoBeth Simon, a Junior MTSU Anthropology major. JoBeth is minoring in Archaeology and Forensics, and would not sit still long enough for a proper photo.

MTSU Anthropology student, JoBeth Simon, getting her schnitt on in Unit 1. Disclaimer: This photo was taken last week, Unit 1 is much deeper!

 

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