The first day we started digging was one of the worst and best days of field school for me and my dig partner Chris.
Our square is Sq 616 and we are going to be digging up the artifacts in the unexcavated part of the unit. In the summer of 2011, the field students, who were working on Sq 616 were not able to complete the unit but they did uncover most of the features in the unit. It took a day to remove the backfill and uncover the black tarp from last summer to get to the unexcavated part. The next day we finally finished removing the backfill that was in Sq 616 from the previous summer and were finally able to see how complicated the unit really was. We cleaned up the bottom of the unit by scraping the floor and then we mapped the features.
The unit we are working on is complicated because there are a lot of pedestalled prehistoric pit features within it. The complicated features are the unexcavated parts of the unit. Our unit also has an extension that extends 50 x 115 cm from the north wall of the unit. Last summer they expanded the unit because they found a large piece of a vessel in a feature (Feature 380) in the wall of the original 2 x 2 meter unit that turned out to be an almost complete Pike vessel. The reason why they extended the unit last summer was to expose more of the feature.
We split Feature 380 into two parts: an area A, which is feature fill of the prehistoric pit, and area B, which is called a matrix or the soil that prehistoric people dug into to create this feature. We can tell the difference because the feature fill will be darker than the matrix. We started taking a flotation sample of the fill, which helps collect all the little pieces of fish bone, seeds, and charcoal in the soil that we might not be able to see easily. We took a total of 14 liters of soil from the feature fill.
We found tons of artifacts. We found several animal bones; deer mandibles with teeth and pieces of deer long bones. There were a few shells in the feature fill as well. This is so amazing to find and see in person! Once the feature fill was gone we started on the matrix. The soil in the matrix was tough to trowel out. We had to spray the ground several times to get the soil wet so that is was easier to dig up. The reason why the soil is so dry is because the spring and most of the summer was dry and there was little rain.
We are almost done with the matrix of our unit. I wonder what we will be digging up next.