Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Good, The Bad, and The Dirty


To Anyone Who Doesn't Understand:

Archaeology is NOT what you see in the movies.  It can be at once frustrating, exhausting, and just plain difficult.  For example, the unit I am working at (otherwise known as the Pit of Despair), is unfruitful.  The soil is composed of mostly clay particles which dry out into a hard crust on the pit floor, and turn into clumps that turn into gravel in the sun.  Attempting to screen  said soil creates blisters, and wears holes through gloves, all while you're sliding down a mound of soil with your screen, trying not to fall into your own pit.  Also, not every excavation yields results.  So far, my partner, Megan, and I have recovered little more than burnt bits of who knows what and some questionable flakes (the waste material from making stone tools).

And yet with all of this said, it is definitely worthwhile.  First, what you don't find can be just as important as what you do.  For example, the location of our unit is in an area west of the palisades and while we haven't recovered much, it may tell us valuable information:  the site may have been disturbed, unoccupied, or a walkway where nothing would have been left anyway.  Second, the physical labor is hard, but builds both muscle and character.  Third, archaeology provides you with the opportunity to work with wonderful people with a similar interest and discover mysteries about ancient peoples who helped shaped humanity as a whole.

To Anyone Who Doesn't Understand:

Archaeology is GREAT.

Do it.

Laura (UNI), Megan (MSU), Sarah (MSU), Hannah (MSU), and Ariel (UNI) team up to screen the baked clay at the Pit of Despair.

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