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, December 15, 2008

Baby, it's cold outside!

People sometimes wonder why we do so much of our archaeological work in the summer here in Texas, where it's regularly over 100 degrees and often 80+% humidity. I've been known to gripe about it myself from time to time, when I'm covered in Ivy Block, sun screen, long pants and a long sleeved shirt walking through greenbriar and sweating my ass off.
Well, right now it's about 20 degrees outside in Tyler, Texas. I drove up here today from Austin, where the temperature dropped from 68 degrees at 10pm to 40 degrees at 10 am. The crews here were working in far northeast Texas, near Paris, where they had to deal with sleet and freezing rain and weather in the high 20s. The trucks still have some ice on them. Tomorrow promises to be just about as cold, and I can only hope it stays dry.
On the plus side, the poison ivy is dead, the snakes are hibernating, most of the vegetation is brown and dry (although the greenbriar is still green and sharp). And we're digging backhoe trenches in some of the highest probability areas we've had on this whole project, right in the western part of the Caddo heartland. One of the crews delineated a site today that included an incised ceramic sherd, which is almost definitely a Caddo artifact.
All the same, I'm going to be wrapped in layers of all my warmest field clothes! I bought a lot of stuff at the REI clearance last year for just such an occasion.

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4 Comments:

Blogger Spacebeer said...

It's three degrees in western Nebraska right now, with a negative 15 windchill, but of course I'm not walking around in it (beyond running from the car to the nearest building and occasionally standing outside and putting gas in the car). I much prefer the hot Texas summers to these cold Nebraska winters. They hurt!

9:10 PM  
Blogger Colleen said...

Woot, Caddo! :)

It's really fucking cold here too. I hope the hotel room is warm at least! Our apartment is so chilly...I have to wear coats inside.

5:39 PM  
Blogger jlowe said...

C- The hotel room is pretty warm, although the heater seems to blow out non-hot air from time to time. I put an extra blanket on my bed.

K- I also much prefer the Texas heat to bitter cold. If you keep hydrated and pace yourself, it's not a huge problem. And like you said, cold hurts!

7:07 PM  
Anonymous jpcook said...

Try surveying(test pits) at 40° BELOW in January when the ground is frozen. An oil drum, cut in half long-wise, with a propane torch thaws the ground a couple of inches an hour. Set up an array and rotate excavation. We found several sites this way along the pipeline construction route north of Fairbanks

3:21 PM  

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