What was the Score for Week Four? Archaeologists Beat the Heat!!!

by Dr. Bernard K. Means, VCU/Virtual Curation Laboratory

Hot at work in the heat.

Hot at work in the heat.

Week 4 of the VCU field school was brutally hot and humid, but the George Washington Foundation archaeologists and interns, and, of course, the field school students themselves managed a full week of excavation, with most students well into their second units by the end of the week. Although, some students were working so hard, that it was necessary to cool them off.

Play misty for me.

Play misty for me.

Some of the students encountered 20th century utility trenches that cut through the layered antebellum, colonial, and American Indian deposits. Although not fun to excavate, the removal of these trenches did provide students with a view of their respective units’ stratigraphy.

 

Stephanie and Olivia work on their utility trench.

Stephanie and Olivia work on their utility trench.

Dr. Means shows that he is shovel ready.

Dr. Means shows that he is shovel ready.

Aaron and Bridget continue their quest for wig hair curlers, having found four this week alone.

 

Bridget and Aaron excavating.

Bridget and Aaron excavating.

Aaron also recovered a small quartz projectile point.

Aaron makes a point.

Aaron makes a point.

A measured photograph.

A measured photograph.

Others recovered wig hair curlers as well this week, bringing us to over a dozen for the last four weeks.

Francesca with a wig hair curler.

Francesca with a wig hair curler…. a dream finding come true.

Mariana with a wig hair curler.

Mariana with a wig hair curler.

Other findings ranged from the mundane to the unique.

Vivian with a burned French gun flint.

Vivian with a furniture tack.

A clothespin hinge.

A clothespin hinge.

Of course, we also found numerous features, which required careful documentation.

Ruth Martin excavates a feature.

Ruth excavates a feature.

Lauren prepares to photograph her unit.

Lauren prepares to photograph her unit.

Intern /Field Assistant Ashely was on hand to help students understand their sometimes complex stratigraphy.

Ashley with Bridget and Aaron.

Ashley with Bridget and Aaron.

Ashley and Vivian confer.

Ashley and Vivian confer.

We of course also went on an educational excursion to Washington, D.C. midweek.

Reconstructed stream locations for Washington, D.C.  GIS. Courtesy of Dr. Ruth Trocolli.

Reconstructed stream locations for Washington, D.C. GIS. Courtesy of Dr. Ruth Trocolli.

Week 5 promises to be bittersweet.  We start off with a field trip to Colonial Williamsburg, and then the VCU students will have only four official days of excavation left to them. But, they will leave with a solid grounding for their future careers as professional archaeologists.  And, all of them will be taking classes from me in the Fall, or working in the Virtual Curation Laboratory.

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