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.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Survey machines

Today my crew covered 3.5 miles, AND we finished early. Most of it was through hayfields and pastures, and we only needed a few shovel tests each mile. Best of all, we didn't find anything. I know that sounds funny coming from an archaeologist, but some days you'd rather find nothing instead of having to spend a lot of time recording a minor trash scatter (or even a non-diagnostic prehistoric lithic scatter).
Yesterday, we did go back and record the two sites we found on Saturday. One of them was nothing, and I would have been okay to just call it a mistake, as the artifacts were questionable, but we had forms started and then someone found some historic glass nearby and so we had to go through with it. The site closer to the river was better, as we turned up a couple more chipped stone tools (nothing too nice and not diagnostic) and a couple of groundstone tools as well. Still not a major site, but it was a nice change of pace.
The other crew found a late-19th and early 20th century cemetery. It was covered in brush and poison ivy and had apparently been partially bulldozed. It's possible that there's more burial than there are markers left. I also heard it may be Native American, but I really don't know, as it wasn't on one of our stretches.
Tomorrow we've got a major challenge. My crew is going out on a one-mile stretch with a crew of biologists and one of the general survey crews. We only have access to this for one day, so if we find any sites, we have to record them and keep going. It's also a walk-in, walk-out, so that it's actually a two-mile walk. If we're lucky, we don't find anything or just a small site. But it's a nice sandy stretch by a major river, so it's possible that we'll be very busy. I'm going to have my crew spend some time in the morning filling out a lot of the information on their forms, to save as much time as possible.
I'm definitely looking forward to my break.

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