Where in the hell am I?

January 15, 2010

Swamp log walk Thursday


Swamp log walk

Originally uploaded by texasrobo

Haven’t written about this East Texas survey yet. This is mostly because I try to keep this blog pretty positive, so rather than post about how much I fucking hate surveying these days, especially in East Texas, or whining about how much I miss Austin and my friends, I’ve been quiet.
But Thursday was unusual in that it was an excellent day of survey in East Texas. I think everyone was just in a silly mood, maybe a little punch drunk, and we just fed off each other. It was also an absolutely gorgeous day, sunny and clear and around 60 degrees. It was the perfect weather for walking through a swamp. Any colder and it would have been dank and foggy. Any warmer and the bugs, snakes, and gators would have been stirring, and the air would have been stinky and steamy.
We crossed the wetlands by hopping across islands of cypress knees and clumps of grass and leaves. The actual bayou channels had logs across them, including the one in the photo crossing the 20-foot wide main channel. I even grabbed onto a big vine at one point to help steady myself. I said at the time it was like Pitfall without the gators and quicksand (and the moneybags and gold bars…).
Past the main channel, we hit a sweet landform that just screamed “site”. Sure enough, both shovel tests we excavated were positive for chert and petrified wood flakes. We have yet to delineate the full site.
We moved on and crossed another swampy area, with an even more prominent landform overlooking it. We thought this would have an excellent site, but the initial shovel tests were negative. Eventually, we had a couple of positive shovel tests making for a small site, but nothing like what we expected. One of the techs named the hill “Disappointment Ridge”, and we decided that archaeologists should be in charge of naming all creeks and hills.
One of the shovel tests on Disappointment Ridge had a lot of weirdly shaped sandstone chunks. As I mentioned, we had a serious case of the sillies, so of course we started finding “ritual figures” in the sandstone gravels, starting with a phallus. Soon, I found one that vaguely resembled the Neolithic “Venus” figurines. We threw them on someone’s bag to “collect.” We then found a tubular piece with a hole through it (which caused a round of “That’s what she said”). When i asked someone if they kept it, they said “Yeah, it’s over by Venus and the penis.” Much laughter ensued, and you are welcome to use that as a band name with proper credit.
I dunno, maybe it was just funny at the time…but it was a very rare good day out here.

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