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.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Hurts so good

Thank you, John Cougar Mellencamp.
Despite the gray, misty weather, I have actually been working outside the last 2 days and it makes me very happy. It's not archaeology, but it's still digging and my back and shoulders hurt in a way they haven't hurt in months. I'm helping dig out karst features to see if they might be caves. If they're caves, then we'll try and see if there are endangered insects in them. If there are, well, I guess Williamson County will have to do some form of mitigation if they want the road widened.
Tina and I were partners today, trying to make headway in a pretty deep feature. I'd say we're about 8 feet below ground, making our way down on big slabs of limestone bedrock. The opening to the actual work space was so narrow that you had to have your body sideways while bending down. Then, you had just about enough room under those rocks to lie on your side or lean forward on your knees (like some kind of yoga move). So the clearing of dirt was pretty slow. Near the end of the day, however, Tini realized that one of the huge rocks forming the narrow crevice was loose. I had assumed it was part of the bedrock. So she wiggled it around and got it loose enough to try and get it out. But it was too unwieldy. So we went after it with a small sledgehammer/mallet and a small rockbar, and smacked 3 huge chunks off the main boulder. What was left was still at least a foot wide and a foot thick, and weighed at least 100 pounds. We hauled it up using a rope and all the strength we had left.
Tomorrow, I get to go back and keep working in there, with a lot more room to maneuver. I'll also be taking my camera.
Oh yeah, I also smashed my finger yesterday and peeled off a big chunk of skin. It's really gross looking!

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Blogger Colleen said...

Yaaay, digging caves is the best.

6:30 AM  

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