by Aaron Ellrich, VCU student
Week four stared off with my unit partner, Bridget Polk, reassigned to work at the opposite end of our project area, FF-20. Alone with my shovel and bucket, I spent all day Monday digging through the 20th century context where I unearthed two wig curlers! Excited over my finds and pestering an intern (Ryan) who had yet to find a single wig curler, my celebration was short-lived as I reached the top of a 20th century utility trench. Starting the utility trench the following day, I have to admit it was by far the toughest day I had had yet! The trench consisted of densely packed rocks with little cultural material. With my muscles strained and drained, I looked forward to Wednesday’s D.C. trip.
For Dr. Means, commuter-mode took over as he led us field school students around the D.C. metro area. Beginning with the National Zoo, everyone split up in order to catch a glimpse of their favorite furry friends. For me, the big cats were a “roar”—with the reptiles slithering their way into second place! Around noon we all met at the front entrance, speed-walked to the metro station, and shot off down the tube to meet with D.C. archaeologist Dr. Ruth Trocolli. Here, Dr. Trocolli presented an informative lecture on GIS applications and archaeology. For me, this lecture was significant because it provided me with a working picture on GIS applications, why GIS is becoming more popular in archaeological research, and how GIS systems elucidate research agendas by avoiding potential problems before breaking ground.
Midway into Thursday, my unit partner was back in action. Together, we worked our way through the Antebellum layer and, to our excitement, uncovered two more wig curlers! I’d like to think that the projectile point I found earlier “pointed” the way to these curlers…but, all in all, the addition of these two curlers made a total of four curlers for week four! Doing my best not to “wig out” in front of the rest of the field school students, Friday was a continuation into the Antebellum layer. So far I’ve found a total of seven wig curlers—and I still have the Colonial layer in my unit to go! Fingers crossed!