MCAP Field School, Week 4: Wrap-up   Leave a comment


Week 4 was a full week of excavating,  lectures, and visitors. Everyone is into the groove of the daily routine.  As the professor, it is nice to step back at different times during the day and watch the students going about their business as if they have been doing this forever. I have to admit, it is a relief not to hear “Dr. Peres…where is the (clipboard, stadia rod, line level, fill-in-the-blank)” every five minutes. They probably know which tub or box these things are in better than I do now!

Here are some highlights from the second half of Week 4:

  • The shell deposits were completely exposed in the floor of Unit 1 at a depth of 1 meter. This unit will now continue as a 1 x1 meter column through the shell deposits. Kelly Ledford has taken over this excavation as it is part of her URECA Scholar grant-funded research. Mimi Glass is working with her on this. They are excavating the column in 5 cm-thick levels and keeping a 100% sample.
  • Erin Floyd and Pam Hoffman continued excavating Unit 3 as a 1 x 2 meter unit. The top of the shell-bearing deposits were exposed at just over 1 meter in depth. Erin and Pam will finish exposing them early next week and will photo, map, and record elevations on these deposits.
  • Unit 6 (caddy corner to Unit 1) is quickly getting deeper. There are four students working this unit so that there are always two people schnitting and two people screening. They should hopefully be at the level of the shell early next week.
  • The team at Unit 7 (Kyle, Kate, and Wesley) continue their excavations, but are slowed by the amount of FCR and shell they have to pick out of the screen. Not a bad reason to go slow, I say!
  • Callie, Cori, and Karen are diligently working at Unit 8. They have a similar issue as Unit 7, with lots of FCR and shell. On Friday we set up a second screen at their unit to speed up the work.
  • I am pleased to report that Units 4 (Blake, Cat, and Madison) and 5 (Arthur and Tee) were closed up late in Week 4. The artifact content dropped off, and a number of soil probes and a bucket auger test showed there was no shell in either of these units. I decided to terminate excavation of them so we could focus our efforts on other parts of the site. Both teams had to spend some time cleaning the floors and walls for photos and maps. Ryan took soil samples and completed a soil profile/sediment description for Unit 5. By the end of Friday the entire class was involved in backfilling both of these units. It is always a good feeling to close up a unit once it has answered your question (and the answer is…..).
  • Visitors: Late Wednesday afternoon we had a brief visit by Mr. Vince Durnan, Director of USN. On Thursday Mr. Steve Smail, High School Geology teacher at USN stopped by. We enjoy sharing our work and what we are finding, especially when others are as interested as we are.
  • Lecture: On Thursday the majority of the class was able to attend a free public lecture on Tattoo Archaeology given by Aaron Deter-Wolf at Bells Bend Outdoor Center. It was a fun outing as we were able to go out to dinner before the lecture. It was a late night, but definitely enjoyed by all that were able to attend.


The forecast for next week is calling for 60-70% chances of rain. We’ve beat the odds so far this field season. After four weeks, we have not had one single rain day. I don’t know if our luck will hold up, but I am definitely okay if we spend a day or two in the lab. We have some organizational things to deal with, and oh yeah, lots of FCR that needs to be washed! (Any volunteers?)





Posted June 9, 2012 by drtmperes in Uncategorized

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