Where in the hell am I?

September 30, 2010

March of the Ants: Wyoming Day 8

Filed under: archaeology, archeology, survey — Tags: , , , , , , — John @ 8:49 pm


Flaky ant hill

Originally uploaded by texasrobo

I learned something interesting today. The ants here in Wyoming, or at least some of them, will use microflakes and small flake fragments when they’re building an anthill at a site! They go out and get microgravels, since that’s what they can carry, to make their hill. If debitage is available on the surface, they’ll use that too (and, I imagine, small bits of glass and ceramic if present). I thought that maybe they were getting the pieces from underground, but apparently not, as they don’t actually live below surface (unlike the evil fire ants in Texas). The person who taught me this said that he has never actually seen flakes in anthills at sites that only have subsurface deposits.
So the anthill in the picture had at least 30 microflakes and fragments, which was really cool to see. However, it means that the ants have moved them from their original location, destroying the context!
Other than the anthill, the site I found and we recorded today had a couple dozen other, larger flakes and 3 large quartzite tools, including an amazing, huge biface blank.
As far as the rest of the day, our 12-person crew surveyed the entire 1×1 mile section, recording all sites and isolated finds. I’m not even sure what all was found, as we were broken into several groups. I know of at least three sites, all surficial lithic scatters. One of the sites did have a side notched arrow point.
I also found out that they actually do shovel test here, in sites where there may be some potential for subsurface deposits. I, however, did not dig any today. I’m on break, after all 😉

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