Where in the hell am I?

December 16, 2009

Fort Hood Day 8

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , — John @ 9:47 pm


8.8 My sketch map of the money units

Originally uploaded by texasrobo

I feel like the blog has been pretty dry. While I find what we’re doing interesting, I’m not sure I’m doing a good job getting that across. Survey does have crazier stories for sure. Excavation does have a lot of “that’s what she said” moments, like “it’s starting to get hard” or “damn, went deep again”…not to mention constant mentions of our units.
Then there’s working on an Army base. I’ve mentioned the helicopters, and the sign warning about artillery rounds. Well, the last three days the training exercises have been pretty close to our site. How close, I don’t know, but close enough to get the sense of what it’s like to be near a firefight. There’s regular bursts of gunfire, and occasional booms that are either big guns being fired or their rounds exploding. A couple today were close enough to get everyone to jump and turn their heads towards the sound. I know we’re safe, as the people who need to know that we’re out here know. Still, it’s a bit unnerving. The gunfire may be blanks, but those artillery or tank rounds…
As for the digging, for me today was all about the science. It was a bit tedious. I finished the last mini-unit, then proceeded to thoroughly clean the floors and snip all of the noticeable roots. I got the photo board and took some official pictures of the units. Then, I got a big piece of graph paper and a tape measure and started drawing a sketch map (see photo). This took me a while, at least 2 hours, as there were lots of rocks and I am not a good artist or draftsman. After finishing the map, the rocks get pulled one by one, and their elevation measures using a string line and a line level from a defined datum point. This is to help define a possible prehistoric surface (think of throwing a bunch of rocks in your backyard and then covering them with a foot of dirt). Finally, count and weigh all the rocks and make sure they’re added to the right forms.
After all that was done, I got to the feature proper. There’s a new form to fill out, trying to describe the feature shape, morphology, matrix, rocks, etc. The feature itself is excavated in cross-section, in order to create a profile of the feature to show the vertical shape. The matrix is collected for future samples, or fine screening. Any charcoal is collected for radiocarbon dating. If there happens to be a stone tool or, if one can be so lucky, a diagnostic projectile point, then point-provenience and collect that.
And that’s as far as I got today (check the Flickr photos). Tomorrow I get to draw the profile of the feature cross-section, and then remove the rest of the rocks.
Other units in Area C finally got interesting. The 2×2 to the southeast of the “money units” started finding scattered burned rock and a broken biface in situ. The 2×2 to the northeast found two projectile point bases at the level above the feature. Both appear to be Marshall types as well, showing continuity horizontally if not exactly vertically.
The THC paid their visit, and it went well. They thought we were doing good work. They also suggested a couple of things which we were already considering, helping us make our decisions.
Another good day, even though I did a lot more science than moving dirt. AND, there will be another week after New Years…but I still don’t know if I’ll be on the crew or not.

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