Friday, June 7, 2013
Neill: People often say, "You start at the bottom and work your way up." Based on the first 10 days I've spent at Aztalan I've come to the conclusion that people are wrong. I will say that Aztalan likes to play its cards close to the chest, at least as far as the area west of the palisade goes. Try this on for size, wake up, dress for (A.blazing sun, B.unseasonable cold, C.rain,) transport the necessary equipment to your dig site and begin digging in (A. a tangle of roots in clay, B. rocks in clay C. some terrible combination of A. and B. in clay). Is your top soil (A. baked out or B. packed from rain)? Better sharpen your trowel. Rinse, wash, repeat. My pit has yet to turn up anything of major interest, at times it gets to be a bit disheartening, especially with some of the other pits turning up exciting pieces and possibilities. I suppose that in a way the uncertainty of finding anything at all is what makes the whole endeavor worthwhile in the long run. My partner and I still get excited over questionable flake or pottery sherds. Truly if there was a guarantee of finding something big every time, everyone or no one would dig in the first place. So while hearing the phrase "Even an empty pit has data." kind of frustrates me, knowing that I might have had an empty pit at all makes each tiny sherd or flake my pit turns up all the more worthwhile, at least on a personal level. Outside of the digging I'm finding my fellow students to be kind and entertaining and the nearby towns and their residents have been warm and inviting. Thus far I'm glad to have come along.