Sweating Dirt: Lauren Volker’s Week 4

by Lauren Volker, VCU student

Day 16: This Saturday we went to Washington, D.C. to get a special up close look at 18th century clothing from Mary Doering. We decided to meet in Washington D.C. near the Smithsonian Institution Building. After we went to a conference room where we meet Mary Doering and she showed us some clothing and accessories she has collected over the years. At first she showed us some women’s dresses, and other outfits that they wore back in the 18th century from going out attire to staying home. It was really interesting to see the different outfits and how some dresses even had separate pockets that you could attach to a belt. We then moved onto men’s clothing and different vests and trousers they wore. My favorite was the men’s underwear and the leather pants. Then Mary Doering showed us some shoes, buckles, and a wallet that had a name and date sown into it. After we grab some lunch and then a couple of us went to National Museum of American History, since some of us have never been before. Unfortunately a few parts were closed for reconstruction.

Posts we left behind for Ferry Farm at the National Museum of American History.

Posts we left behind for Ferry Farm at the National Museum of American History.

Day 17: Another Monday come and gone and today Mariana and I finally finished our unit! In the morning Mariana and I finished leveling our unit and had to screen by buckets to make sure we don’t find any artifacts. Since last Friday Dr. Means found lithic debitage in our last bucket we have had to dig a little further to make sure we did in fact reach subsoil. It was also a really hot day and the weather says it’s going to get hotter as the week goes on. Hopefully no one will pass out and it cools off soon. We also got a new unit N600 E565, the unit in front of our old one. We started top soil and got close to the 20th century by the end of the day.

Day 18: Another hot day and Mariana and I continued our new unit. We got through our topsoil and into our 20th century. We found a wig curler so hopefully that will mean will find more as we dig deeper. We also found glass shards, plastic, lithic debitage, a clay marble, and ceramic sherds. By the end of the day Mariana and I finished our 20th century layer and on Thursday we will be able to start our Antebellum layer.

Mariana and I’s new unit after the top soil was removed.

Mariana and I’s new unit after the top soil was removed.

Day 19: Today we went to Washington D.C again to receive a lecture from Dr. Ruth Trocolli about GIS (Geographic Information Systems). First we took the train to D.C., which was pretty cool since I’ve never taken the Amtrak Train before. Before the lecture we went to the D.C. and walked around for a while. I saw cheetahs (which are my favorite), pandas, elephants, orangutans, gorillas, and many more animals. The GIS lecture was really cool because it should us how we can use technology to see where historical sites are and how that can help both archaeologists and developers. The program shows a map of the area and then where all the historic and prehistoric sites can be found and more information can be added to add more details. After we went to the Natural Museum of Natural History to see the Written on Bone and the Human Origin exhibit. The Written in Bone exhibit is my favorite, because you can see all sorts of different skeletons of animals in the beginning and then humans. I like how they show human remains that died and the causes so you can see how it affected their skeletal remains. I also really like bones so I could be a little biased. Still an awesome exhibit and you should go see it if you haven’t already!

 A panda eating bamboo.

A panda eating bamboo.

A cheetah!

A cheetah!

Day 20: Another scorcher out in the field, but Mariana and I were every productive. In the morning we noticed our utility trench outlined in our soil so we excavated that in the morning. We didn’t find much beside a whole bunch of rocks and pebbles. After lunch we started on our antebellum layer and got to about half way at the end of the day. We were also drinking a lot of water and got misted by the water screen hose to cool down. In our antebellum layer we found ceramic sherds, glass shards, lithic debitage, brick, and coal.

Mariana and I’s finished utility trench (left).

Mariana and I’s finished utility trench (left).

Day 21: Today had to be the hottest it’s been all week. It was supposedly 100°F, but Dr. Means stopped by with a nice surprise for us, sparkling water! We also took a lot of water breaks. Mariana and I continued our antebellum layer and in the morning we had to produce a lot of dirt so the archaeology camp had something to go through (Thanks to Ashley and Katie for helping!). In the end we had ceramic sherds, glass shards, coal, brick, a tooth, lithic debitage, pipe stems, and nails. Just before lunch Mariana and I finished our antebellum layer and then started our colonial layer. We found very little artifacts, which can happen and we got to leave early since the weather was so hot. Hopefully next week won’t be as hot as this one.

 

All of the artifacts we found in our antebellum layer.

All of the artifacts we found in our antebellum layer.

 

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