Today was our last day in the field. It was a good day. As I watched the wheelbarrows, shovels, and tractor bucket swiftly carry the dirt back to the excavation units I felt happy and satisfied with our work of the preceding seven weeks. We accomplished what we set out to do. The fieldwork could not have gone smoother. We met some very generous and kind people along the way and caught up with old friends. We are left with a load of data to analyze, sort through, and ponder. What more could any scientist ask for?
I think some of the students were a bit sad. I remember that feeling after my first field school. You grow close to a group of people, you get used to seeing them everyday, and then bam! you are left with a lot of free time as everyone parts ways. Most, if not all, will renew these friendships in late August when the fall semester starts up at MTSU. This group of students was wonderful. I told them I don’t think I have ever worked with a more agreeable bunch and I would be pleased to work with all of them again in the future. That says a lot!
We close this week with some fun facts and statistics from this season (but be sure to check back in July — we will be blogging from the lab):
- We hand excavated 33.435 cubic meters of dirt and rock from 109 bucket auger tests, 8 excavation units, and 2 column samples.
- We recorded over 245 field specimens.
- We used just about 250 50-lb feed bags for sample collection.
- We hand excavated the deepest auger test ever recorded for the Cumberland River (it’s over 9 meters deep!).
- On June 1, it was cold enough that we had to wear jackets the entire day.
- On June 28 it reached a record 108 ° F (without the heat index)!
- We slathered and sprayed on a collective 19 tubes and 16 cans of sunscreen, and 18 cans of bug spray.
- At least 17 tubes of lip balm were on site at any given time.
- Our water coolers hosted a total of 90 bags of ice over the 32 days we were on-site.
- We consumed a cumulative 90 Sonic large iced teas; 30 Red Bulls; 17 microbrew sodas; over 200 quarts of Gatorade/Powerade/Vitamin Water; and around 450 gallons of water.
- We commuted a total of 3,150 miles from campus to the site over the 7 weeks.