Where in the hell am I?

Stories from the road, and home, by a contract archaeologist.

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Location: Texas, United States

I work out of town a lot as a contract archaeologist. Sometimes it's interesting. It can be quite funny, although probably only to other archys. Home is Austin, with my wife and our cute kitty and all of our crazy friends.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

The grunt work of archaeology

We've been out here on the site that I can't say much about for almost 2 weeks now, and we've only now about to really dig on the target deposits. We've spent a lot of time doing the more mundane tasks: cleaning the walls of our backhoe trenches and recording them, re-digging the 10-year old backhoe trench that uncovered the target deposits, removing roughly a meter of culturally sterile overburden to reach the zone right above the target deposits, laying out grids and doing scads of paperwork. Then, there's the special circumstances involving rain. We built covers for our trench using 2x4s and PVC roofing panels. Even so, the torrential rains that began late last Thursday and throughout the weekend did a number on the trench and the site. So we spent a good deal of time re-cleaning trench walls and digging out heavy, wet, muddy dirt that got washed into the trenches and burgeoning units.
I have to say that I really enjoy the more physical aspects of the gruntwork, even if it's really just ditch-digging. My muscles ache in the good way and I can basically eat as many calories as I want. On the other hand, it's time that was intended for the "real" digging. I can also get frustrated with all the paperwork and details of recording.
So tomorrow, on a short day of our second week out of three, we should have most of not all of our crew actually digging (or screening) on the meat of the site. I really wish I could write about it, but we've been told to keep things quiet for now. It's fascinating and challenging and likely a once in a lifetime dig, and we haven't even found anything new yet...


Blogger numberonelabrat said...

^.^ Sorry, I was randomly snooping on other peoples pages when I saw yours and smiled.... I am a field technician in IL and I totally feel for you. Hope the weather improves!

8:12 PM  

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