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.

Monday, November 03, 2008

The TAS meetings

So I said I would blog about this, and it's been a couple weeks. There's nothing else going on in the world, right?
The drive up was eventful. We took SH 71 for the first part, which takes you through Llano. So we get to the bridge across the Llano River, and there's a few emergency vehicles blocking the bridge and diverting traffic. We get close and I notice there's a woman standing on the wrong side of the bridge, and two men are talking to her. We ask the cop if there's another way across the river, and he says "Bridge is closed, you'll have to wait." This is only an hour or so into a 6 hour drive, so waiting was not on our minds. We pulled out our atlas and found a way across. It turned out to be an absolutely amazing road that takes you on this little bridge/low-water crossing west of town. Basically, take RM 152 west until you hit County Road 102. Turn right on CR 102, and that'll take you across the river.
I'll also say that the climb up onto the Llano Estacado through the Caprock Canyonlands was pretty beautiful also. We also got to see some of the wind turbines we surveyed for south of Sweetwater.
Once in Lubbock, we check into the hotel and start drinking, first in our room and then at the hotel bar. Again, this was an archaeological conference, so that's where the action was as far as networking and catching up was. Also checked into the book room and the silent auction room. I picked up a couple of older journals with classic articles. Tina bought a book on cannibalism and got some earrings at the silent auction.
Saturday I caught a few papers. One was by someone I worked with this summer, and it was a good talk. A couple were by my bosses, presenting the final results of the analysis from the dig in Kerrville back in 2004. The wheels of archaeology turn slow! One interesting paper was about a possible source of tektites around Cuero. I think I might have blogged about tektites in Texas before. What was interesting about this was that the dates from the source in Cuero are not the dates for the known strewn field in Texas that is a result of the meteor that created a huge creater in the Chesapeake Bay.
Two other papers have some relations to work I've done or will be doing soon.
One was an experimental archaeological project testing the ability of a bow and arrow to penetrate a medium (deer) or large (bison) animal. They tested 3 different weights of projectile points and 3 different amounts of force, and found that a single hunter would require a relatively heavy projectile being shot with a lot of force to kill a deer with a typical prehistoric Texas bow and arrow, from a set distance. This suggests that in order to kill larger animals (like bison), various hunting strategies would have been necessary. The Perdiz point is associated with large-scale hunting of bison in Texas from 1300AD to 1600AD (known as the Toyah phase), and at the site we dug in Junction we focused on the Toyah phase occupation(s). Pretty soon, I'll be doing the metrics and analyzing the artifacts from that site.
The other paper had to do with tool-stone associated with a specific geologic formation that stretches across parts of Northern Texas and Central Oklahoma. This formation (the Antlers Formation, and I couldn't find any really good links on Google) was actually once the ancient shoreline of North America, hundreds of millions of years ago. The huge Keystone pipeline survey crossed a portion of this formation, and we had a string of sites with lots of lithic artifacts in this area.
So yeah, I got to drink a lot of beer, meet some new people and catch up with some old friends, and I learned stuff! I also found out that Lubbock is really boring and ate almost no vegetables all weekend.

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