Mapping the End: Aaron Ellrich’s Week 5

by Aaron Ellrich, VCU student

The final week began with a trip to Colonial Williamsburg. It had been years since the last time I visited the historic town! What made this trip unique is that I wasn’t there to walk the streets and poke around the various shops. Rather, I was there to learn about current archaeological excavations and conservation. Seeing two separate archaeological projects, these active sites addressed the changing landscape in and around the historic district. Later on, CWF’s Emily Williams delivered an informative lecture on archaeological conservation and laboratory procedures. For me, our trip to Colonial Williamsburg brought back a lot of old memories while simultaneously providing new ones!

Inside CWF’s conservation laboratory.

Inside CWF’s conservation laboratory.

 Tuesday was back at it in the field. With only a few days left of field school, Bridget (my unit partner) and I were worried about finishing up on time. This was due to disturbances found in the archaeological record—such as a feature in the northwest corner (found last Friday) as well as extensive mole activity (aka bioturbation) along the southwest side of our unit! Since every feature has to be excavated separately, we finished excavating the northern half of feature 49 on Tuesday and, after changing context, moved to the mole run—which came with a surprise!

Bone handle found inside the mole hole!

Bone handle found inside the mole hole!

After completing our unit and profiling the east wall, the entire team (including field school students and interns) worked together in order to complete project FF-20. All the units in our area received a fresh scrape so that mapping, done by the interns the following week, could be completed. With all the field school students accustomed to what needed to be done, the last two days I worked the screens, completed the summary reports on the units Bridget and I excavated, and aced my ceramics test! The only drawback for my final week at Ferry Farm was that I was unable to throw my stone across the Rappahannock River, like George. In the end, the 2013 field school season taught me a lot about archaeology beyond the classroom. Final thanks to: the George Washington Foundation, Mary Washington University, Bernard, Laura, Dave, Eric, Ashley, all the professionals who took the time to express their knowledge to us, and all the 2013 interns who helped us along the way. I had a wonderful and enlightening experience!

Final group picture! The stone throw—I almost made it across!

Final group picture! The stone throw—I almost made it across!

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