Prairie Dig Day 3

I both can and cannot believe what has happened today. I can believe it because I lived it, but today was just mind boggling. 

So, first we hit 30 minutes of traffic to get to the site today, and when we are almost there… we see the semi truck ahead of us blow through and break the flashing light railroad barrier, only to be missed by a speeding train by half a second! 

Then after the dig today, my phone with all of today’s photos of today needed tech support… but these are side stories. The main thing is, I’ve got pics from today and I can tell you about the archaeology, even if I am starting to feel roughly under the weather.  

The morning began with fewer people on site than the last two days, just enough to where we can start to remember all of each other’s names, and still have all the activities covered. 

Most of the volunteers are from the Prairie. No, they don’t live there- they work there. Which explains why they seemed to know everyone these past few days.
We spread ourselves into three units today.  I had been assigned to help with the most productive unit of the week so I had no problem with that. However, the day began with screening, and as I waited to screen the material pulled out, my trench-mate found three large sherds of Huber pottery. One with decoration and one with a broken handle. 

As we neared lunch, we had switched so I could trowel.  And then after food, I was ready to dig into this unit, pun intended. 

Well, we had a layer of minimal flakes, charcoal, some shell and bone, but no big chunky pottery for me. Then, we needed to clear out the sterile matrix  (area around the feature). Unexciting, you would think. 

Well, at the last second of screening I grabbed a dirt clod to crumble it, but it had a solid rock inside. I asked if it was something because it looked obviously worked to me. They told me it could have been a scraper, maybe just not a finished one. It definitely has one obvious sharp, worked edge. 

Then we debated whether the pit feature continued or ended at the sterile layer. But a few quick scrapes and the dark stain in the soil started reappearing, like it was meeting me at the surface with every scrape of the soil.  All the while it was hard to ignore the turtle bone sticking out of the wall of the unit.

(Keep in mind, there are two other units active, which I was fully ignoring… except to check on my aunt who was on this adventure with me!) Lucky me, I’m glad I talked her into it! 

So I was only supposed to open the layer up till the next layer, when two passes of the trowel turn up a deer toe bone. Beautiful. This was laying in the ground, for nearly 800 years or so. And I found it where it sat. 

We debated and thought out loud together, and decided that if one was to use a storage pit seasonally, then it makes sense for many of our features to have episodes of covering and returning to dig. A theory is being drafted in the mind of my leads…

And they let me fill out forms today! Wonder if they’ll have me drawing tomorrow. We can only hope.

I’m excited to start tomorrow, it’s possibly the last digging day, as Friday we need to back fill. But at least tomorrow I know I’m going straight into a layer with finds, even if I already found them today. 


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